Clarion County gets nearly $1.1M for broadband project

From staff reports

Clarion County has been awarded $1,096,125 by the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) to design, build and launch fixed wireless broadband services to unserved and underserved areas in Clarion County.

“It is a great thing for Clarion County,” county commissioner Ted Tharan said Friday. “It will help to enhance the services we have and get broadband to underserved areas. It won’t get everybody but it is a start.”

“We have had other grants and this will allow us to expand on what we already have,” Tharan added. “Last year we put in four towers and this will allow us to put lights on those towers and to put in more towers.”

The award is part of a nearly $46.4 million package supporting 57 projects across 184 coal-impacted counties through an ARC initiative.

Clarion County commissioners, the Clarion County Economic Development Corp. and the Northwest Commission will be requesting proposals for a public-private partnership to fill broadband gaps in certain areas of the county.

The county is seeking defined projects that will provide broadband service to its underserved areas utilizing county 911 towers.

The county project will use a combination of existing 911 towers and new pole/tower locations to provide services. The towers will be connected through a point to point microwave connection with several towers having fiber backhaul to provide long haul internet connection.

Additionally, the project will provide last mile internet service to end-users such as businesses, schools, households and federal opportunity zones through direct wireless connection.