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Connecting Berks to Broadband

Connecting Berks to Broadband

The County of Berks has partnered with the Berks Alliance, the United Way of Berks County, the Wyomissing Foundation and other community partners to identify opportunities to improve the availability and accessibility of reliable, high-speed Internet access throughout Berks. On this page, you'll be able to track this initiative and learn about how you can help us improve accessibility and bring better broadband to Berks. 

Berks County Broadband Assessment Plan

Lit Communities Broadband was hired to perform a feasibility study and other necessary evaluations to enable the County to leverage state and federal funds that are dedicated to improving access to broadband. The firm completed a Berks County Broadband Assessment Plan in October 2022. 

Key Findings of the Report:Berks Broadband Report Image

      • There are clear gaps in broadband infrastructure that have a direct impact on residents, businesses and service organizations.
      • There is a critical need to improve digital literacy among residents. Digital literacy is the ability of people to navigate, evaluate and communicate information online.
      • There are opportunities to improve outreach to those who are unserved or underserved by working with willing partners.
      • There is a general satisfaction with speed and reliability of current Internet services, but a concern about the lack of competition for Internet providers in some communities. 

Recommendations from the Berks County Broadband Task Force:

      1. Allocate $5.7 million toward infrastructure projects with the intent of leveraging this investment into more thorough grants, partnerships and other funding.
      2. Actively pursue grant or private funding to address broadband connectivity gaps.
      3. Allocate $600,000 to fund two pilot digital literacy programs.
      4. Initiative dialog with neighboring counties to identify opportunities for collaboration.
      5. Continue dialogue with new and incumbent carriers to identify opportunities for collaboration to address the unserved and underserved.
      6. Collaborate with municipalities, authorities and other stakeholders to look at opportunities for infrastructure build-out, including right of way and "dig once" opportunities. 

The Commissioners approved the appropriation of $6.3 million from the County General Fund on January 19, 2023, to support the recommendations from the Berks County Broadband Task Force, including the implementation of infrastructure and pilot digital literacy programs.

Broadband Initiative Partners

The support and resources from several community partners have allowed this effort to expand beyond simply providing access to broadband, but to also address gaps in digital literacy and improve digital equity. The following partners have joined to support this initiative:

Berks Alliance

United Way of Berks County

Wyomissing Foundation

Berks County Community Foundation

Berks County Intermediate Unit

The City of Reading

Penn State Health St. Joseph Medical Center

Reading Public Library

Reading School District

UPMC For You Health Plan