June 20, 2024 − The Pennsylvania Broadband Development Authority has begun accepting applications for the new initiative aimed at providing laptops for libraries, non-profits, and community institutions across Pennsylvania.

In partnership with the Pennsylvania Broadband Development Authority (PBDA), Senator John I. Kane proudly announces that the application period for the new Digital Connectivity Technology Program will open today, Thursday, June 20 and run through Monday, August 19, 2024. Applications can be submitted directly on the PBDA website. The program, which is committed to closing the digital divide in the Commonwealth, will distribute $20 million in laptops to community institutions to help connect Pennsylvanians who lack digital technology.

The PBDA will purchase and distribute the laptops to eligible public-facing institutions located in areas where affordability is a barrier to broadband adoption. These institutions include libraries, municipalities, workforce training organizations, not-for-profit organizations, and other community anchor institutions.

“I have seen first-hand the effects of connectivity issues on communities throughout my district in my time serving on the Pennsylvania Broadband Development Board,” stated Senator John I. Kane. “Our schools, businesses, local governments and communities must keep pace in our rapidly developing digital world. This program will provide the necessary technology to help Pennsylvanians access the internet and have better health, education, and economic outcomes.”

The PBDA will begin reviewing Digital Connectivity Technology Program applications on August 20 and anticipates announcing the grant awards in November. Projects are expected to begin in early 2025. While grant recipients are required to make digital skills training available, end users are not required to participate in a training program.

The funding for the Digital Connectivity Technology Program was made available through the American Rescue Plan Capital Projects Funding, announced by the PBDA in March 2024. Through the federal Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) Program, the Commonwealth will receive more than $1.16 billion in federal funding to expand broadband in unserved and underserved areas.

More information regarding the Technology Program can be found on the program page to include the guidelines, a pre-recorded webinar providing an overview of the program, as well as an FAQ. The PBDA strongly encourages interested applicants to review the program FAQ before applying.