Southwestern Pennsylvania Connected – Equitable Broadband Access

Connectivity Roadmap | Speedtest® | Digital Equity & Maps | Communication Tool Kits

About the Project

The Southwestern Pennsylvania (SWPA) Connected initiative is a regional consortium that includes the Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission (SPC), Carnegie Mellon University (CMU), Allies for Children, and a diverse group of regional partners to develop an equitable Connectivity Improvement Plan to provide affordable, reliable broadband internet access across the region.

This initiative is not affiliated with any internet provider and is not intended to sell any internet services. Rather, it seeks to guide the region’s future internet investments that can be made now that the historic infrastructure bill has passed, which includes $65 billion for broadband.

Broadband should be available and Affordable to the Southwest PA Region

Rural and urban areas in our region are lacking affordable access to internet and equipment that is fast and reliable. This impacts the quality of life for our residents and communities.

  • Rural issue – high-speed broadband service is oftentimes unavailable.
  • Urban issue – affordability where low-income households cannot afford access.

Connectivity Roadmap

The Connectivity Roadmap was informed by a public survey, county interviews, ISP interviews, workshops with regional providers, nonprofits, local and state government leaders, industry experts, community organizations, and through best practices.

Executive Summary

Please click to download the Executive Summary

Connectivity Roadmap

Please click to download the Connectivity Roadmap

An implementation Guide

Rather than identify a comprehensive set of future projects that may quickly become obsolete in this changing landscape, the Connectivity Roadmap provides several tools to guide the selection of projects as priorities shift.

  • The Project Identification Decision Tree guides decision-making through the steps needed to meet a given need, according to the existing conditions and type of need.
  • The Measures of Effectiveness rubric rates and weights projects according to an extensive set of metrics that includes technical and equitable qualifications.
  • Fourteen initial Projects have been prepared to illustrate priority infrastructure improvements that meet the needs of the county, by first starting with areas that are unserved and that can pursue funding immediately.

The Connectivity Roadmap not only identifies regional goals, and how to identify projects, but also provides recommendations and next steps for the SPC, county and city leadership, and other partners to improve broadband infrastructure, tools, and skills across southwestern Pennsylvania.

What is your internet speed?

Take the SPEEDTEST® to find out your internet speed. Try the test below and run as many tests as you like. Try the test at different hours of the day or when multiple devices are in use! Click “GO” and wait for the results.

Test my speed

Please click to take the SPEEDTEST® and find out your internet speed.

Notice: Speedtests from Ookla are sponsored by different companies (e.g. Comcast, Pitt Ohio LLC, Crowsnest Broadband LLC, etc.); if you see discrepancies between your internet provider and the company listed above, no worries! This is just a server sponsored by a broadband company. For example, if you have Verizon FiOS, you may see that you are connecting to a Comcast server. You will receive the same results no matter who the sponsor is!

Digital Equity & Maps

To better understand the needs of the region, SWPA Connected examined the current state of broadband coverage, speed, resources, and gaps in relation to the region’s demographic and socioeconomic conditions.

SWPA Connected developed two connectivity data dashboards leveraging existing local and national open-source datasets. We also analyzed and incorporated Environmental Justice and Title VI data to create the Connectivity Indices.

These mapping applications will be used to assist in prioritizing potential deployment locations across the region. In the meantime, these applications will serve entities who are applying to state and federal grant programs for broadband deployment funding by helping articulate the need to deploy high-speed connectivity to the most critical unserved and underserved areas of the region.

Note: The datasets are very large and may take time to load and refresh.

Fixed Broadband Access Index Dashboard

The Fixed Broadband Access Index Dashboard compares broadband data and socioeconomic data and identified gaps in regional access.

Fixed Broadband Access

Click to view

Adoption and Equity Index Dashboard

The Adoption and Equity Index Dashboard identifies gaps in regional access, adoption, and affordability or equity based on demographics and socioeconomic conditions.

Adoption and Equity

Click to view

Fixed Broadband Story Map

The Fixed Broadband Story Map provides an in-depth look at the fixed broadband speed across the region, the type of broadband or internet technology available, and what that technology supports, as well as the broadband providers throughout the region.

Fixed Broadband Story Map

Click to view

Communication Tool Kits

These tool kits aim to provide helpful resources and materials to assist in raising awareness about the SWPA Connected initiative, the Connectivity Roadmap, and to provide communities and residents across the region the tools they need to increase their digital literacy and better advocate for improved internet access.

In the News/CMU Student Videos

Students in an undergraduate Junior Communications Design Studio created sample public service campaigns focused on equitable broadband as part of a course assignment.  Click below and view examples of the students’ terrific work as well as news articles related to SWPA Connected!

CMU Design Studio

View Student Videos

No license rights are granted to the videos pursuant to Carnegie Mellon’s Cost Reimbursement Pass Through Agreement No. SPC 20-17 dated March 15, 2021. The videos were created as part of an educational class assignment, and the students retain their respective intellectual property rights in them. Therefore, any desired use would be subject to the interested party negotiating and obtaining the applicable rights from the relevant student (in the student’s discretion) as well from any applicable third parties for the use of any music and/or voiceover assets in the video.

News Archive

View articles related to SWPA Connected

   

Project Manager Contacts

Andy Waple
Deputy Executive Director, Programs
(412) 391-5590 x310