Counties work together to gain fast internet | Local News

Adams County will partner with neighbors to bring more high-speed internet to the area.

The commissioners unanimously voted last week to pay for one-third of a multi-county broadband feasibility study in partnership with Franklin and Cumberland counties. The governing bodies will accept bids for the study from April 6 to May 18, the commissioners said.

Commissioner Chairman Randy Phiel said the study will identify “unserved and underserved” areas of the three counties. A multi-county approach makes sense because neighboring areas are also experiencing a lack of consistent high-speed internet, Phiel said.

“We all know broadband is extremely critical for educational and economic development,” Phiel said. “Services just don’t just stop at the county line.”

The study is expected to cost about $120,000, said county Solicitor Molly Mudd, who plans to seek grants to fund the project.

“There does seem to be a lot of different pots of money out there so we will be jumping on those,” Mudd said.

If grant funding does not come through, the study is an eligible use of the $19 million the county received from the American Rescue Plan Act. A study will take about eight months to complete, County Manager Steve Nevada said.

Commissioner Marty Qually hopes the multi-county approach also helps with attracting internet providers to southcentral Pennsylvania.

“When you have three counties that are willing to work together, I think it is going to send a clear message,” Qually said.

York County was approached about joining the coalition, but declined, he said.

In November, the county created a Broadband Task Force. The task force will consist of eight members from specific categories: Adams County Council of Governments, K-12 education, post-secondary education, representative from an underserved population, major employer, community member at-large, preferably home-based small business, healthcare, agriculture industry, tourism industry and a county commissioner.

The task force is currently on hold until the multi-county study is complete, Qually said.

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