Emerging tourist/tech region 90 miles from New York City seeks affordable broadband options, improved cell service, 5G investments and Gigabit City status to help existing Employers grow; and new companies relocate to beautiful Wayne County, Pennsylvania
Early in 2022, the Wayne County Commissioners hired Consultant Kelly Lewis of Lewis Strategic, with money provided by the William H. Chatlos Charitable Gift Fund, to expand broadband service in Wayne County and best position the community to take advantage of state and federal resources earmarked for Rural Broadband.
It all began with the Gigabit Survey to identify large employers interested in aggregating their demand for broadband internet services into a Request for Proposals. This effort was aimed at lowering the costs to each business. Approximately 100 employers engaged in the RFP process, and the county has received six strong proposals, according to Lewis.
Another survey sought information about dead cell phone zones in the county, of which more than 3,300 have been documented. Lewis said about 93 percent of e911 calls now originate from cell phones, making the service a matter of public safety rather than convenience. He also emphasized that the consumer side of the project has two distinct parts: one focuses on addressing dead cell zones; the other deals with expanding broadband infrastructure to homes not served and making it more reliable and affordable for those that have service.
Lewis Strategic has proposed a $12 million program primarily funded by the Internet Service Providers that leverages existing infrastructure and builds new capabilities. The project would expand the county’s existing eight 5G towers to 22, which would also support wireless broadband and county e911 equipment.
Every tower will be served by fiber, which enables providers to deliver services “along the way.” At least 10 of these proposed towers would be located north of Honesdale, including three in Damascus and two each in Lebanon and Buckingham Townships.
The outcome of the project, according to Lewis, would be “5G to the Home” for more than 1,000 households and affordable wireless broadband to nearly 2,200 households. He added these projects are designed to quickly deliver service to 500-plus households that do not have viable broadband, and do it at competitive prices.
Lewis Strategic has already identified $8.6 million in industry investments for the project, and is now seeking an additional $3.4 million in local, state and federal funding to get the project started -- possibly by the end of the year. The timing of the project will be critical as communities around the country begin vying for available equipment and expertise in the face of historic government investment.
Reliable and affordable Broadband Internet service has long been identified as one of the key barriers to economic development in Wayne County, even as it very quickly becomes an educational and community necessity across the country.
Wayne County has already seen signs of the impact that competition can have on the market, with providers increasing speeds in some cases and even lower costs in others. One of the goals of the Accelerate Wayne Project is give residents and businesses options for meeting their needs.
Wayne County Commissioners and members of the Wayne Economic Development Corp. Tech Committee believe this project will lay the much-needed framework for continued expansion and improved services throughout the county.
A long-range project objective is gigabit city status for Wayne County’s more densely populated areas, where businesses and households can purchase synchronous gigabit internet connections (gigabit upload/download) for $1,000/year or less. While many PA, NJ, and NY zip codes have achieved gigabit city status, this Project seeks to spur gigabit investment and drop gigabit pricing. A second objective is to improve broadband and cellular service to the county’s less-densely populated areas wherever possible.
According to BroadbandNow, Wayne County ranks in the lowest quartile for county broadband coverage. Wayne County is excited to work with our consultant Lewis Strategic to improve these rankings. After years of broadband projects, his home county, nearby rural Monroe County, with equally challenging broadband geography, is ranked 4th best in the same survey. https://broadbandnow.com/Pennsylvania
Companies seeking to relocate to Wayne County should contact: Mary Beth Wood, Executive Director, WEDCO, email@example.com, 32 Commercial Street, Suite 1, Honesdale, PA 18431, 570-253-2537
Accelerate Wayne – The Gigabit & Dead Cell Zone Project - Goals and Objectives:
(1) Immediately conduct countywide survey of broadband, cell service, and costs; (2) Develop/implement solutions to increase broadband availability to underserved locations; (3) Develop/implement solutions to reduce Employer and Household broadband Mbps costs by 50%; (4) Develop/implement solutions to increase availability of gigabit connectivity to Honesdale, Hawley, and across Wayne County; (5) Identify dead cell zones with no cell service, and develop/implement solutions ways to eliminate them; (6) Help more organizations offer WiFi hotspots where cell coverage is weak or obstructed; (7) Develop/implement solutions to position the County for 5G wireless investment; and, (8) Develop/implement solution strategies to position Honesdale, Hawley, and other municipalities for Gigabit City
- Share this Release with your broadband and cell phone provider, asap!
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- Share the Accelerate Wayne website link: https://www.waynetomorrow.com/343/Accelerate-Wayne
- Complete the Employer and Household surveys!
- Share the Employer and Household survey links with as many employers and households as possible: