PENNSYLVANIA (WTAJ)–Senator Bob Casey addressed in a press conference Monday the expansion in broadband that Pennsylvanians will receive from the recent bipartisan bill.

The expansion will provide much-needed relief for folks, especially those living within rural Pennsylvania. In the state, 48 out of 67 counties are considered rural.

Pennsylvania is expected to receive at least $100 million that will be used for broadband expansion. Senator Casey addressed that this will close the digital divide among the state, allowing folks to compete with one another.

Senator Casey addressed the press and multiple officials, including former PA Secretary of Agriculture Dennis Wolff, Indiana County Commissioner Sherene Hess, and Economic Development Specialist Don Bock. They all said that this would provide better opportunities for folks in many aspects.

“One of the best things we did this year is to finally, finally make an investment in high-speed internet so small businesses can function, commerce can move, and we can transact business,” Senator Casey said.

Wolff made comments about how the broadband expansion will be beneficial to farmers. Once the internet comes their way, it’ll help them with precision agriculture. Bock, a Johnstown native, said that this bill will allow folks in the Central region to compete with urban areas because they now have the same access.

“The big picture is it’s going to help us win. And that’s what I’m interested in,” Bock said. “I want to see everybody win. It levels the playing field geographically. So whether you’re in Pittsburgh or Johnstown or rural community or countryside, you’re going to be able to compete at the same level as some of these other folks.”

Senator Casey also said that 23% of Pennsylvanians will be eligible for the Affordable Connectivity Benefit. That program allows low-income families to receive reliable internet.

“Rural communities need our help, and we’re going to provide help to them,” Senator Casey said. “Whether it is helping their children, the children who are living in rural areas, and it’s helping small towns on something as fundamental as high-speed internet.”

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