HONESDALE, PA — Weeks after awarding about $2.5 million in federal CARES Act relief to local businesses and nonprofits, the Wayne County Commissioners have approved nearly $1.2 million in CARES grants to improve residents' access to high-speed internet.
Wayne County's lack of access to broadband has been a major point of concern among the commissioners, as well as state and federal representatives, for years. Commissioner Joe Adams has said that the problem affects roughly one-third of people in Wayne County.
The county identified six projects intended to improve internet access to homes and businesses. These projects include:
“We have identified rural broadband upgrades as the top need in Wayne County for years and thanks to the CARES Act funding, we were finally able to take a giant leap forward toward that goal,” the commissioners said. “We thank our local telecommunication companies for working with us to identify areas of need and agreeing to work quickly to bring high-speed internet to potentially thousands of customers. And we appreciate the Wayne Highlands School District and the Wayne Library Alliance for thinking outside the box to serve their communities during this pandemic.”
Federal CARES funding is provided to Wayne County through the Pennsylvania Department of Community & Economic Development, which has developed procedures that apply to broadband initiatives undertaken by counties. Projects must be completed and proposed broadband services must be available before December 30, 2020. Project sponsors that fail to meet the deadline will be ineligible for reimbursement and will be required to return any funding already received.