These are the parts of the Lehigh Valley with the worst broadband internet

The Lehigh Valley is largely “underserved” and has communities considered “underserved” when it comes to broadband Internet availability, according to a recent study by the Lehigh Valley Planning Commission.

Investigative news service Spotlight PA this week reported on efforts in Pennsylvania to identify where high-speed Internet access isn’t yet available, ahead of the release of federal infrastructure money intended to improve service to homes and businesses.

“Nearly everyone agrees that the federal government’s current broadband maps are deeply inaccurate, a long-standing source of frustration for advocates, government officials, and Internet users,” the report states. “According to the most recent data from the Federal Communications Commission, 4% of Pennsylvanians are unable to access the Internet at broadband speeds, currently defined by the federal government as download speeds of at least 25 megabits per second. and upload speeds of at least 3 megabits per second.

“That number goes up to 13% in rural areas. But those numbers, released last year, almost certainly underestimate the problem.”

President Joe Biden’s administration earlier this year took the first steps to release $45 billion to ensure all US residents have access to high-speed internet by about 2028, inviting governors and other leaders to start the application process, reported The Associated Press. In anticipation of that funding, Northampton County Council in May authorized a $150,000 study to see where broadband service needs the most improvement. The funding is part of the $65 billion for broadband in the $1 trillion federal infrastructure package that was signed into law last November.

These are the parts of the Lehigh Valley with the worst broadband internet

An analysis published in August 2022 by the Lehigh Valley Planning Commission finds that the vast majority of Lehigh and Northampton counties are underserved when it comes to broadband internet access, measured in upload and download speeds.Lehigh Valley Planning Commission

The Lehigh Valley Planning Commission study released last month identifies large swathes of Northampton and Lehigh counties where broadband is available at speeds of 25 megabits per second or less, which is considered no service. Virtually all communities in both counties are considered underserved, with download speeds below 101 megabits per second and upload speeds less than 21 Mbps.

Based on LVPC’s analysis, only 6% of counties have the type of high-speed Internet that the federal government seeks to provide.

The FCC says minimum download speeds of 5-25 Mbps are needed for students and telecommuters for work, with at least 5-8 Mbps needed for streaming HD video and 3 Mbps or more for online gaming.

During an August visit to Lehigh Carbon Community College, the US Department of Commerce’s special representative for broadband, Andy Berke, said a study is underway to outline by fall 2023 how to boost the service, he says. LVPC. Federal funds will then be appropriated by the end of the year, with each state set to see at least $100 million to improve internet speeds.

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Kurt Bresswein can be contacted at [email protected].

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