The Pennsylvania Broadband Development Authority (PBDA) has opened the application period for the new Digital Connectivity Technology Program, which will distribute laptops to community institutions to help connect Pennsylvanians who lack digital technology.

Through the new program, the PBDA will purchase and distribute $20 million in laptops for eligible public-facing institutions such as libraries, municipalities, workforce training organizations, not-for-profit organizations, and other community anchor institutions located in areas where affordability has been identified as a barrier to broadband adoption and use. The community organizations are responsible for making the laptops available to individuals who lack the technology needed to access the internet.

The application window, which is now open, closes on Aug. 20. After the application window closes, the PBDA will begin reviewing applications and anticipates announcing the award grants in November. The PBDA noted that projects are expected to begin early next year.

In addition to making laptops available to residents in need, grant recipients are also required to make digital skills training available through their own program or the free options on the PBDA website, however, laptop end users are not required to participate in a training program.

“We are working hard to provide the resources Pennsylvanians need to make ‘internet for all’ a reality across the Commonwealth,” said PBDA Executive Director Brandon Carson. “The Digital Connectivity Technology Program will provide libraries and other community institutions with the technology required to give Pennsylvanians the internet access they need to have better health, education, and economic outcomes.”

Funding for the program comes from the Federal Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) Program.

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