Westmoreland County communities set to receive broadband upgrades

WESTMORELAND COUNTY, Pa. (KDKA) – Hundreds of people and businesses in some rural areas of Westmoreland County don’t have high-quality broadband.

But KDKA’s Jennifer Borrasso reports that it’s about to change for three townships.

The Westmoreland County commissioners approved the greatest areas in need: Fairfield, Derry, and Ligonier Townships.

They are first in the plan to expand broadband access in Westmoreland County.

Westmoreland County commissioners Thursday released the Westmoreland Broadband Data Collection and Feasibility Study final report.

Over 3,000 homes have little-to-none broadband connectivity. 700 businesses, too.

They are expecting to spend about $3 million in American Rescue Plan money, plus possible grant money from federal resources to wire the three townships for the internet. Private internet service provider companies are expected to pick up part of the expense.

Derry Township supervisor, Donald Kepple, told KDKA what some residents have experienced.

“I would guess probably 30, 35% of the township out there are struggling, maybe more. With the pandemic, the pandemic happened, school children were having trouble with school from home, they couldn’t get the internet, traveling somewhere to get internet service to try and do their homework,” Kepple said.

When could this plan officially go into effect?

“From what I understand today, [it] sounds like the end of the year [or] beginning of next year, hopefully.”

This is the first phase of the changes.

Eventually, there will be broadband for the entire county.

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