Nearly 1,000 people and about 70 businesses in one part of Schuylkill County will soon have expanded access to broadband internet technology.
Cass and Reilly townships will split about $1.7 million in grant funding through the state’s Unserved Highspeed Broadband Program. The awards were announced earlier this week by State Sen. Dave Argall (R-29) and Rep. Tim Twardzik (R-123).
These 2 awards were among 19 given out during the first round of funding through this grant program. It was created in 2021. These are the only 2 Schuylkill County municipalities to get broadband funding through this grant initiative.
“High-speed internet is no longer a luxury – it’s a necessity,” Argall says. “This new funding will support a better education for our children and make local businesses even more competitive. I’m thankful Cass Township and Reilly Township received this highly competitive funding.”
Separately, Cass Township will get $825,546. That’ll expand broadband internet access to 740 residential homes, 52 businesses, and 10 community institution locations.
Reilly Township is going to get $916,701. That money can bring broadband access to 226 residential homes, 17 businesses, and 1 community institution.
The grant money will be awarded, eventually, to Comcast, which will allow the company to invest in broadband infrastructure there.
“It is crucial we provide high-speed internet service to residents as more people work and learn remotely,” Twardzik says. “This funding will begin the construction of wired infrastructure to necessarily serve the unserved areas of these townships and improve the customer experience.”
Residents of Cass and Reilly townships can expect to have access to this broadband service in about 12-18 months, according to information from Argall’s office.
Each municipality used its own initiative to apply for the funding. A countywide broadband project discussed by the Schuylkill County Commissioners at various points over the last couple years – using money they’ve been allocated from the federal government through 2 pieces of legislation – has never materialized.
A spokesperson for Argall said he’s unsure when the next round of funding would be awarded.
To learn more about the state’s broadband expansion grant program, check out its homepage.