FAQs

You have questions, we have the answers.

Overview

This page is dedicated to answering some of the most common project questions we have received. As the project is ongoing, this page will be updated with more recent FAQs.

If your question is not answered by the information found on this website, we ask you to send us your question on the Contact Us page.

Frequently Asked Questions

Last updated August 2022

The Connect Beaver County Broadband Program will bring broadband access to parts of 24 municipalities across the County in areas that are unserved and underserved. The program includes FIVE KEY ACTIONS to close the digital divide:

  1. New Broadband Service
  2. Digital Navigator Program
  3. Connect County Towers via Fiber
  4. Broadband Utility Connection Fund
  5. Continued Digital Equity and Data Collection Analyses

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) currently defines high-speed internet at 25 megabits per second (Mbps) download and 3 Mbps upload, which is not adequate given the speeds required for today’s lifestyle such as teleworking, conducting schoolwork, and managing social needs.  For the purposes of this program, underserved and unserved are defined as follows:

  • Unserved - Locations with no access to wired internet service at speeds that meet the FCC threshold of 25 Mbps download and 3 Mbps upload, meaning the internet connection is slow and unreliable or nonexistent. 
  • Underserved - Locations where internet service is at or above the FCC threshold but with no access to wired broadband service at speeds 100 Mbps download and 20 Mbps upload, this can lead to slow or unreliable service.

The Beaver County Broadband Data Collection & Feasibility Study identified locations that are unserved and underserved with poor mobile and fixed broadband service speeds as top priorities for access to new service. Visit the About the Program page to see the Beaver County Broadband Connectivity Opportunity Areas identified map.

Beaver County Office of Planning & Redevelopment is advancing the Connect Beaver County Broadband Program to deliver high-speed internet to the communities across the county that need it most. The Beaver County Planning Commission has provided critical support and leadership through the planning phase and leading to program development.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has put a program in place to help ensure that households can afford the broadband they need for work, school, healthcare, and more.  For more information, please go to the Affordable Connectivity Program.

The Beaver County Commissioners have approved the use of nearly $20 million of American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding and is being developed by Beaver County through the Office of Planning and Redevelopment. 

The Beaver County Commissioners have approved the use of nearly $20 million of American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding to bring high-speed internet to the communities across the county that need it most. Through this program, broadband service access will be delivered to parts of 24 municipalities that are unserved or underserved. The funding must be allocated by 2024 and allows until 2026 for the work to be completed. Beaver County is committed to doing everything it can to connect as many residents and businesses as possible by 2024 with very remote locations potentially requiring additional time for access. Please join the email list for direct updates.

To support broadband access, adoption, and digital equity needs, a Digital Navigator Program is being developed to provide support to people who need help using the internet. Digital navigators or coaches are trained staff who will work with residents on digital literacy including home connectivity, device setup, and digital skill building. They are also familiar with how to apply for social service resources online and provide guidance upon request.

No. Mobile wireless connectivity is spotty throughout the county. Mapping issued by the FCC is in the process of being updated. As part of this program, Beaver County is also performing a Mobile Connectivity Study to submit allowable challenges to the federal data to best support the pursuit of mobile broadband funding. This study will begin after the ISPs are identified for the existing Connectivity Opportunity Areas identified for new service as part of this program.  

The County has identified Connectivity Opportunity Areas in 24 municipalities. The Project Team is working with the providers to establish a specific timeline for expanding service into those areas that have been identified as unserved and underserved. If your location is not included in the Opportunity Area map and your area is currently unserved, please contact us for more information.

It is an acronym for the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund which is a federally operated program through the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the FCC’s latest initiative designed to bring high-speed fixed broadband service to rural areas of the country that are considered unserved (25 mbps download/3 mbps upload). RDOF will disburse up to $20.4 billion over 10 years to bring fixed broadband to unserved locations in rural America. Phase I of the RDOF started in 2020 and carriers must complete deployment of service by the 8th year of the program. Windstream is providing service to the RDOF locations in Beaver County. Visit the FCC website here for more information.

No. Broadband service is not classified as a cable service by the FCC and is not subject to a franchise fee by the Local Franchise Authority (municipality).  The federal government allows municipalities to collect fees up to 5% on cable services through franchise fees, which are only applicable to what the FCC determines to be “Cable Services”.

Early Action Projects allow the county to assess the process of delivering service to two Connectivity Opportunity Areas to confirm the best approach to project development, establish success factors and work closely with two reputable providers prior to initiating connectivity projects in the remaining parts of the county.  The projects selected are in areas that are close to locations that already have existing services, making it more efficient to access and construct expeditiously. 

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