Southwestern Pennsylvania Connected – Equitable Broadband Access
SWPA Connected Survey
In an effort to continue gaining helpful insight and to hear community feedback and recommendations, SWPA Connected is collecting additional information through a secondary survey that will be used to further assist future decision making and project prioritization. Please note that the information in this supplemental survey will not be incorporated in final reporting for the Market Research Survey but will be reflected in the final report.
Introduction video: Executive Director Vincent Valdes
The Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission, in collaboration with Allies for Children and Carnegie Mellon University (Metro21 and Traffic21) and a broad, regional coalition of stakeholders proposes to develop a regional Connectivity Improvement Plan. High-speed connectivity programs and projects will be deployed, enabling areas of the SWPA region lacking adequate high-speed internet access and equipment to better connect to jobs, education, health care and to attract new business. Most importantly, this proposed Plan will help people connect to opportunity.
The Plan will act as a catalyst in assisting the region in researching, collecting, developing and prioritizing a pipeline of connectivity projects and initiatives to secure funding for implementation. Recommendations will be equitable and represent all of the region’s residents.
The Plan will examine the current, true state of the region’s broadband connectivity in relation to the region’s demographic and socioeconomic composition. This ensures its recommendations will help equitably serve our most vulnerable populations who are unserved or underserved by current connectivity. Also examined will be locations of schools, other educational institutions, medical facilities, businesses and planned business parks, ensuring we properly connecting our residents, students, as well as our medical and business community to the world.
High-speed connectivity is essential in the 21st Century. The emergence of the COVID-19 virus has demonstrated to the world the important role that high-speed connectivity currently plays, and will continue to play in nearly every aspect of our lives. For the SWPA region to be globally competitive, the unserved and underserved areas of the region must be addressed equitably and systematically.
SPC examined the current state of broadband related coverage, speed, resources, gaps, and needs in relation to the region’s demographic and socioeconomic conditions. Connectivity was also examined in relation to the region’s businesses, educational, and medical facilities. Using existing local and national open-source datasets, SPC analyzed, collected, and compared all broadband and socioeconomic data and identified gaps in regional access, adoption, and affordability. Once gaps in the broadband service were identified, two Connectivity Indices were developed. The first Index focuses on broadband accessibility in the region, while the second Index focuses on adoption and equity. Environmental Justice and Title VI data was analyzed and incorporated to create the Connectivity Indices.
Fixed Broadband Analysis and the Broadband Access and Adoption Dashboards
Introduction and explainer video: Connectivity Dashboards
Note: The datasets are very large and may take time to load and refresh.
Please click below to view/download the Connectivity Index Scoring Guide
Index Scoring Guide
Please click below to interact with the Fixed Broadband Access Dashboard:
Fixed Broadband Access
Please click below to interact with the Adoption and Equity Dashboard:
Adoption and Equity
These two Indices helped to further the analysis by identifying, evaluating, and prioritizing areas where the greatest disparity between coverage, speed, and affordability of high-speed broadband connectivity access in relation to the demographic and socioeconomic conditions in rural and urban populations of the region.
As the Connectivity Improvement Plan is developed, these mapping applications will be used to assist in prioritizing potential deployment locations across the region. In the meantime, these applications will serve those who are applying to state and federal grant programs for broadband deployment funding by articulating the need to deploy high-speed connectivity to the most critical unserved and underserved areas of the region.
Please click below to interact with the Fixed Broadband Analysis Story Map:
Fixed Broadband Analysis