Southwestern Pennsylvania Connected – Equitable Broadband Access
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 to deploy high-speed connectivity programs and projects to enable the areas of the southwestern Pennsylvania region lacking adequate high-speed internet access and equipment to better connect to jobs, education, health care and to attract new business to all corners of the region. Most importantly, this strategic plan will help people connect to opportunity.
This plan is intending to act as a catalyst in proactively assisting the region to research, collect, develop and prioritize a pipeline of connectivity projects and initiatives in order to secure funding for implementation. The process will be equitable in its recommendations to represent all of the region’s residents, with the ultimate goal of connecting the southwestern Pennsylvania region (the region) to the world.
This strategic plan will examine the current, true state of the region’s broadband connectivity in relation to the region’s demographic and socioeconomic composition to ensure its recommendations help to equitably serve the region’s most vulnerable populations who are unserved or underserved by current connectivity. It will also examine the locations of schools, other educational institutions, medical facilities, businesses and planned business parks to ensure we are properly connecting our residents, students, as well as our medical and business community to the world.
High-speed connectivity should be viewed as an essential form of transportation in the 21st Century. The emergence of the COVID-19 virus over the past year has demonstrated to the world, the role and importance that high-speed connectivity currently and will continue to play in nearly every aspect of our lives. For the southwestern Pennsylvania region to be truly 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. SPC also examined connectivity 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 one focused on broadband accessibility in the region, while the second Index focused 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
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 were used 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 10-county southwestern Pennsylvania 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.
Please click below to interact with the Fixed Broadband Analysis Story Map:
Fixed Broadband Analysis