Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf and his administration traveled to a maple farm this week to learn more about the impact of broadband limitations on Pennsylvania farmers. According to a report published earlier this year by the Center for Rural Pennsylvania, a bipartisan, bicameral legislative agency that serves as a resource for rural policy within the Pennsylvania General Assembly, nearly a million Pennsylvanians lack access to reliable, high-speed internet and connectivity speeds are substantially slower in rural counties than in urban ones.
Sheri Collins, executive director of the Governor’s Office of Broadband Initiatives, said, “So our primary goal of visiting the maple farm is to really gain a better understanding of the challenges businesses such as this one are experiencing as it relates to a lack of broadband infrastructure and how the lack of infrastructure actually affects business.”
WJAC-TV reported that Wolf’s team toured Baer Brothers Maple Camp and got a close-up view of the electronic monitoring system used to measure tank levels and detect leaks during sap collection. According to Lynch, reliable internet connection is critical for efficiently running the system’s overall production.
“With the computer monitoring, CDL monitoring system, we can monitor vacuum levels in the woods. It cuts our labor and we get back into production soon. It also allows us to monitor how full a tank of sap is so it doesn’t overflow. We aren’t losing hours of production time,” said Lynch.
Lynch continued, “Having monitoring systems offers a peace of mind and saves on labor, but without reliable internet you cannot count on receiving alerts or warnings that you may need to be aware of in a timely manner.”
Wolf’s administration is working with service providers to try solve this issue through its Restore Pennsylvania program, a $4.5 billion bipartisan proposal that will provide funding to support the installation of infrastructure to bring high speed internet to every corner of the commonwealth.
“A lack of broadband access is one of the largest competitive disadvantages to our rural communities,” said Department of Agriculture Deputy Secretary for Market Development Cheryl Cook. “How can we expect innovators and entrepreneurs in rural Pennsylvania agriculture to compete when they cannot access and share data as quickly as their counterparts in more developed areas?”
December 13, 2019
The post PA Governor Visits Maple Syrup Farm to Assess Broadband Challenges appeared first on Inside Towers.