Broadband Strategic Plan
Centre County Broadband Report
In November 2021, the Centre County Planning and Community Development Office commissioned a countywide broadband study to examine existing infrastructure, refine the identification of unserved areas, investigate the extent of underserved locations, and develop a strategy for filling those gaps. With foresight, Centre County leaders conducted this study in anticipation of newly enacted federal laws providing funding for broadband infrastructure in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Centre County has prioritized taking a countywide approach to closing broadband gaps. Several other Pennsylvania counties are working to close their gaps in broadband availability, reliability, and speeds in both urban and rural areas. Like most of these counties, Centre County has determined that a public-private partnership that incentivizes private internet service providers (ISP) to fill those gaps best reflects its priorities and risk appetite.
The County has also adopted the current federal standards for broadband deployment that emphasize future-proof solutions. These standards, which will be reflected in upcoming State-administered funding opportunities, 1) prefer fiber over other technologies and 2) adopt a preference for targeting unserved areas with speeds lower than 25 Mbps download, 3 Mbps upload (25/3), but 3) also target underserved areas with available speeds above 25/3 but less than 100/20 as a secondary priority.
The goal of this report is to position the County for newly created broadband infrastructure funding programs geared toward addressing gaps in broadband connectivity. The County government is in the best position to spearhead efforts to secure available funds to help private partners fill those broadband gaps. View the complete report (PDF)
The Centre County Board of Commissioners contracted with CTC Technology & Energy to complete a broadband strategic plan to help guide internet infrastructure investments. The plan wass funded through the County’s American Rescue Plan funds.
Scope of Work
CTC will assess and prioritize which communities are unserved and underserved by broadband. Staff will analyze existing broadband infrastructure using maps, studies, documents and relevant data. CTC will determine which internet service providers are active in an area, what internet services are available, and what residents and businesses are paying for varying levels of service. Staff will provide information on gaps in service, affordability, and competition. View the full proposal (PDF).
A strategic plan will guide not just where broadband infrastructure investments should be made but what this infrastructure should be.
While a focus on hard-wired internet infrastructure is preferred (fiber optic and cable), opportunities may arise to deliver broadband through wireless systems or a wireless-wired hybrid system. We will better understand the County’s broadband landscape with a thorough assessment of supply and demand. Our strategic plan will serve as a roadmap to ensure that wise investments are made that avoid system overbuilds and matches the needed infrastructure with the capacity to fulfill future broadband demands.