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Committee looks into new project

LEWISTOWN — The Mifflin County Internet Advisory Committee met Wednesday at the Mifflin County Courthouse to discuss extending broadband service to parts of the area that currently don’t have internet access.

Scott Kramer, of SEDA-COG, spoke about the Rural Broadband Revolving RLF Pilot project. The plan looks to bring internet service to people in rural areas of Mifflin, Juniata and Perry counties.

Kramer noted the lack of return from investment is the primary reason for the lack of internet service providers in specific areas.

“ISPs are hesitant to build out on networks they themselves did not build or control,” Kramer said.

However, SEDA-COG, along with local legislation, has reportedly secured $300,000 to implement the RLF Pilot project in the region.

Kramer discussed the different areas in each county the project is targeting including Academia, Doyles Mills, Pleasant View and Seven Pines in Juniata County; Alfarata, Shindle, Maitland and Wagner in Mifflin County; and Bixler, Loysville, Green Park and Elliotsburg in Perry County.

Kramer said after finalizing loan guidelines and putting together an application, a competitive request for proposal can be published.

In other business, Alicia Matthews, vice president for Government Affairs and Strategic Initiatives for Comcast’s Northeast Division, spoke to the committee in regards to Comcast’s success in other states such as Massachusetts, Maryland, Vermont and Virginia. She said the company is reaching people who didn’t have broadband before.

Matthews noted that in Maryland, Comcast has been put into 3,149 homes that had no prior broadband service and in Virginia, 7,882 homes now have Comcast as their internet service provider.

The Mifflin County Internet Advisory Committee’s next meeting will be held at 3:30 p.m. Nov. 20 at the Mifflin County Courthouse.

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