WASHINGTON COUNTY, Pa. — Avella School District is surrounded by rolling hills and farms, but the lack of good internet was evident for parents.
“Half the time it wouldn’t work or you could come here to work. Just time-wise it wasn’t appropriate,” said Avella Parent Melissa Robinson.
Robinson has two kids in Avella Elementary School. When the pandemic hit she said her daughter would miss days because they didn’t have internet access for assignments, leaving them driving for better connection.
“A kid telling them to sit in the car with a book in their lap is pretty hard,” Robinson said.
It’s a problem Washington County Commissioners saw firsthand and have dedicated millions in American Rescue funds to fix.
“Rural broadband is not towers just yet. What we are doing is running hard lines to these homes. It’s not about owning a cellphone — it’s having the service hard-wired into your house,” said County Commissioner Nick Sherman.
So far the county has spent $3 million dollars on the project with 1,200 homes in Avella complete. In total, $4.6 million is budgeted.
“I’m very thankful I mean it’s a better opportunity for us and the little kids and they are able to have access to more things since you aren’t waiting for it,” Robinson said.
Up next, the county is laying lines in Beallsville and Scenery Hill then will move to Bentleyville and West Finley to help improve the overall health and well-being of each resident.
“This is great service, a service we can provide, so whether you are a senior citizen looking at your heart monitor or a student doing homework online, this is something that’s a true necessity in Washington County,” Sherman said.
The lines the county is laying provides 1 Gbps internet speed, compared to the 100 Mbps in the previous lines, which the county said will be 10 times faster service.
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