State awards funding for Crawford County broadband project

Apr. 19—A more than $1.8 million project with both state and private investment project will help to expand broadband internet service in a portion of northern Crawford County.

Verizon North LLC has been awarded a $817,475 state grant toward a $1,862,130 expansion project in the county, according to the Pennsylvania Broadband Development Authority (PBDA).

Verizon North will provide more than $1 million in funding toward the project.

The project is in an underserved broadband area in Canadohta Lake south toward Centerville, according to the Crawford County Planning Office.

However, neither the authority nor Verizon North LLC on Thursday could provide the number of homes and businesses expected to be served by the project.

An email to The Meadville Tribune from the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development press office said, "The Pennsylvania Broadband Development Authority is currently breaking out the data and providing summary statistics for each awarded project. That data will be posted to the DCED website next week."

In a news release, PBDA Executive Director Brandon Carson said the authority had approved $204 million in Broadband Infrastructure Program grant awards to 53 projects in 42 counties. The projects, when completed, will connect 40,000 homes and businesses, bringing high-speed internet to more 100,000 Pennsylvanians, the release said.

The grants, awarded to businesses and nonprofits, are being matched by more than $200 million in private investment, making a combined investment of more than $400 million to broadband in unserved and underserved areas Pennsylvania, the release said.

Later this year, businesses, local governments, co-ops and nonprofits will be able to apply for grants through the federal Broadband Equity, Access and Deployment (BEAD) Program, the release said.

Pennsylvania is scheduled to receive more than $1.16 billion in federal funding under BEAD to expand broadband in unserved and underserved areas of Pennsylvania. The application period is to open later in 2024.

Eric Henry, chairman of Crawford County Board of Commissioners, said Crawford is working with seven other counties in northwestern Pennsylvania on a joint application for the BEAD program.

The application would be submitted by Northwest Pennsylvania Regional Planning and Development Commission for Clarion, Crawford, Erie, Forest, Lawrence, Mercer, Venango and Warren counties which are commission members.

Keith Gushard can be reached at (814) 724-6370 or by email at