DANVILLE — More Valley residents will soon have access to high speed internet service…thanks in part to the pandemic. Three counties have joined a regional economic development entity to use federal CARES dollars to expand broadband access.
Snyder, Northumberland, and Union Counties have each adopted resolutions, and committed funding, to join Driving Real Innovation for a Vibrant Economy, or DRIVE. DRIVE is economic developmental council formed by Columbia and Montour Counties in 2015.
The counties will use pandemic assistance funds, or CARES dollars, to collectively get more internet to rural areas. Through the CARES Act funding, DRIVE Executive Director Jennifer Wakeman said they’ll bring faster internet to areas that have lagged behind, “In the long run, expanding access to high-speed internet will be a boon to businesses and residents in our rural areas.”
Fast internet is key for remote learning and telemedicine, both of which have been common lately, “COVID-19 is a public health crisis unlike anything we’ve ever seen. It’s changing the way we work, the way we educate, the way we deliver healthcare,” she said.
DRIVE’s board of directors will now be comprised of one commissioner and two community members from each of the five counties. As members of DRIVE, counties receive marketing, business retention and expansion services, and brownfield site development and wireless broadband access.
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