As KINBER continues to grow its work in serving our unserved and underserved communities across the Commonwealth, we were especially excited at the opportunity to work with the Office of Commonwealth Libraries to serve as the managing agency for the Libraries Connect Communities and Broadband Resources project. As Pennsylvania’s statewide research, education, and community network, KINBER is uniquely positioned to successfully support and execute this activity maximizing the impact of the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief (GEER) funds and serving the community anchor institutions and populations in identified counties of greatest need.
The project team worked to asses broadband needs by county and determined an early threshold for qualification for this project was 4% or greater of county population having less than 25Mbps available. The information used for this evaluation was data from the American Community Survey and FCC filings on broadband data, compiled by Harry Chrissy of the Penn State Extension office. From this, KINBER tapped 9 counties for early participation in the project.
Libraries are an essential hub within their communities providing key services and support, especially in times of need. If the COVID-19 pandemic has taught us anything, its that people must be able to safely access healthcare, educational institutions, government resources and places of employment via a safe and reliable broadband connection. Libraries are a critical resource during times of emergency ( and non-emergency times) in providing broadband access and services to their communities. This is especially true to the most rural counties with historically, the most disenfranchised populations. The Libraries Connect Communities and Broadband Resources project will work to ensure libraries are made “Future Ready” in their own network infrastructure, broadband technologies, and broadband resources. Additionally, this project will empower libraries to work within their communities, with stakeholders and other community partners, to identify broadband needs and projects and deploy solutions, under the guidance of KINBER, where possible. KINBER will support libraries in their work as community conveners, to help identify and document projects to help the community be ready to capitalize on other funds available within their county to solve the digital divide and bring reliable, quality internet service to their patrons.
IMPORTANT LINKS & FORMS
TRAINING AND WEBINARS
Webinar Training #1- Broadband 101 – Thursday May 27, 2021 at 10AM (ET).
Check back for updates!
Broadband Mapping Tools and Resources
This project is funded, in part, by the Governors Emergency Educational Relief funds.