GREENWOOD TOWNSHIP — A new project to bring broadband internet services to more than 2,900 homes and businesses in underserved areas of Crawford County got underway Thursday.
Groundbreaking for the initial phase of the project took place at the intersection of Cole and Lake roads in Greenwood Township, northeast of the small community of Atlantic.
Kinetic by Windstream is expanding high-speed broadband through the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (FDOF) Phase I. The fund was created by the commission in December 2020 through an auction to expand in high-speed service in rural areas.
The FCC defines high-speed broadband as a download speed of 25 megabits per second (Mbps) and upload speed of 3 Mbps.
Crawford County has only 75 percent of households having access to internet service that meets the FCC standard, according to a September 2020 study by the Pennsylvania General Assembly on the Delivery of High-Speed Broadband Services in Underserved Areas.
Nearly all locations in Pennsylvania that were eligible for the auction are getting access to broadband with speeds of at least 100 megabytes per second, according to the FCC. A single megabyte is 1 million units of digital information per second.
RDOF was designed to support network upgrades to bring broadband to unserved rural areas that would have been cost-prohibitive without a public-private partnership. The Windstream projects will deliver ultra-fast 1 gigabit broadband to some of Kinetic’s most rural customers. One gigabit is equal to 125 megabytes.
Under the auction, Windstream received $6,147,645 to expand high-speed broadband to a total of 2,935 customers in Crawford County.
“This is such a good day for our neighbors in Crawford County,” said Susan Schraibman, president of state operations for Kinetic by Windstream. “We know that robust broadband is an essential service. That’s why we’re participating in network expansion partnerships at the federal, state and local levels to deliver future-proof fiber broadband connectivity to our customers.”
The Greenwood Township/Atlantic area is the initial phase of the project, adding high-speed broadband internet to 100 homes and businesses in the coming months.
Projects in Kinetic by Windstream service areas of western and central Crawford County eventually will bring high-speed broadband to 2,935 homes and businesses by 2028 or sooner. During the next six years, under the federal RDOF program, Kinetic will deliver high-speed broadband to 53,800 locations across Pennsylvania.
“All levels of government have worked together to prioritize broadband service to underserved and unserved areas of our communities,” state Sen. Michele Brooks said. “With broadband connectivity and reliability a necessity for families, schools, farms, hospitals and businesses, I appreciate Kinetic by Windstream’s commitment to ensuring communities have this service and to strengthening its capabilities.”
Crawford County commissioners Eric Henry and Christopher Soff said they were pleased to see the project to enhance moving forward.
“This is really a great thing for Crawford County,” said Henry, who is commissioner chairman. “We appreciate Kinetic making the commitment to the county.”
This is an immensely positive step to bringing broadband connectivity to areas that are either underserved or completely unserved,” Soff said. “We cannot thank Kinetic by Windstream enough for their investment not only across Pennsylvania, but in Crawford County specifically.”