Pennsylvania to improve internet access throughout state

Pennsylvania (WHTM) – Many Pennsylvanians have access to high-speed internet, but some do not. Some call it the “digital divide”.

Inequality in Internet access makes it difficult for children to learn and work, and for patients to access health care.

A bipartisan congressional bill plans to bridge the digital divide.

The Mifflin School District enrolls just under 5,000 students in more than 400 rural square miles. Superintendent Vance Varner says 80 percent of families say their internet is good enough.

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“There were probably half of those who couldn’t afford to have two iPads at once if you had multiple kids in the house during the day. And maybe the parents were doing telework, and what was happening was some of our kids were zooming in/out,” Varner said. They should have removed the video and just listened.”

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Even during abc27’s interview with Varner, internet issues prevailed.

“It just showed up, my internet connection is unstable. I’m sitting in the school district office in the administration building,” Varner added. This is not the end of you.”

Governor Wolf spoke about the importance of Internet access for everyone.

“The lack of affordable, accessible broadband is slowing economic growth in our state and leaving many people behind,” said Wolf.

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Wolf recently accepted a $6.6 million down payment for the federal government’s “Internet for All” initiative.

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The aim of the initiative?

“To ensure that everyone across the Commonwealth has access to high-speed internet and the digital skills they need to use technology,” said Kevin Gallagher of the US Department of Commerce.

$6 million has been paid to develop a plan to reach the initiative’s goal. The federal government is promising at least an additional $90 million to implement the plan.

Wolf emphasized that spending would be controlled.

“What we want to end up with is every Pennsylvanian has access to the internet. What we don’t want to do is spend all this money and then not do it,” Wolf said.

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Mifflin County wants to offer 21st century education, such as underwater robotics competitions that are popular with students.

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“It’s all designed online when kids do that kind of thing, so when you and I went to school it was a long time ago. And we want it to be, we always want them to have it better than we had,” Varner added.

Pennsylvania was promised no less than $100 million of the $50 billion in funds at the federal level.

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