Schuylkill County Commissioners will consider a purchase Wednesday that will upgrade internet connectivity in one part of the area. That area includes the Courthouse and other County properties.
The board will consider a $303,0941.73 purchase that includes “equipment, licenses, and services to update the network infrastructure and expand wireless coverage in the Courthouse and other County buildings.”
Included in the purchase price are “switches, wireless access points, cabling, licenses, and installation services,” according to the Commissioners meeting Agenda for Feb. 23.
To pay for this project, the County plans to use some of its American Rescue Plan funding. No contractors or suppliers are made public on the meeting Agenda.
Their Needs Before Yours? Schuylkill Commissioners Want to Spend $300K+ on Courthouse Internet Upgrade
It’s fascinating that the Commissioners would even consider such an upgrade to the internet connectivity at the Courthouse and other County properties, especially right now. We’re guessing this project to upgrade the connection is more important than the public’s.
Now, the Commissioners can more quickly read the emails from angry disconnected constituents who can’t send them.
Over the last 2 years, we’ve learned just how many people have limited or zero connection to a broadband connection in Schuylkill County. And while the Commissioners have done a good job of dangling a carrot in front of those folks who don’t have a worthy internet connection with their so-called “broadband project”, they’ve done an equally good job of pulling the carrot back.
Talk of the so-called “broadband project” started back in 2020 when the Commissioners were divvying up the CARES Act federal funding. That money was supposed to go, in part, to support public projects that would help in some way, even loosely, to the government’s COVID pandemic response.
Some counties in Pennsylvania used some of that CARES Act funding to bring wireless broadband service to rural areas. Many used a technology called fixed wireless internet and had disconnected residents hooked up before the end of that year.
At that time, the “broadband project” was some potential down-the-road idea that was floated to the public as the Commissioners were looking for support of a multi-million dollar upgrade to the County 9-1-1 system.
In 2020, the County purchased a firewall device it said was necessary to upgrade the internet connectivity. But again, that was their own internet.
There wasn’t a lot of movement on a “broadband project” in 2021 but during a recent public argument between Commissioners Boots Hetherington and George Halcovage, the alleged project did come up. Hetherington was arguing for more money for farmland preservation. Halcovage called that a pet project of Hetherington and in the back-and-forth, the chairman said arguing for more money for the “broadband project” indicated it was a pet project of Halcovage.
So, could that mean a “broadband project” will be announced soon by the Commissioners? Perhaps. But not until they upgrade their own internet, first.
- 10 Pennsylvania Counties Are Actually Expanding Broadband Access With CARES Act Money
- Schuylkill Commissioners Approve $6.11M Bonds For “Broadband Project”
- Schuylkill County Reveals How It Spent SOME Rescue Plan Funds; Questions, Skepticism Persist
- Fixed Wireless Internet Is The Solution To Schuylkill County’s Connectivity Problem