DAUPHIN COUNTY, Pa. (WHTM) — On Monday, the Dauphin County Commissioners and Comcast announced efforts to expand broadband internet access for northern Dauphin County communities.

The project costs nearly $4.1 million and will offer high-speed internet options to about 500 homes and businesses. This will help to fill a great need that was exacerbated during the COVID-19 pandemic, when students were challenged with new ways of learning, such as remote learning. Many workplaces also shifted to work-from-home schedules, where employees would be in need of internet access.

Homes and businesses located in the following municipalities will benefit from the expansion project:

  • Lykens
  • Mifflin
  • Upper Paxton
  • Reed
  • Wayne
  • Jefferson
  • Halifax
  • Washington
  • Jackson townships
  • Halifax area
  • Millersburg
  • Susquenita
  • Upper Dauphin Area school districts

“Expanding the broadband grid has been a priority for quite some time – it was just a matter of finding the right partner,” Mike Pries, Chairman of the Dauphin County Commissioners, said. “This project will improve quality of life north of the mountain.”

Engineering work will begin soon, and physical construction of the network will bring speeds up to 1.2 gigabits per second. This work is scheduled for 2023.

“Affordable high-speed internet has become essential for students, families, and businesses in our community and across the Commonwealth. We are pleased that Dauphin County is helping to expand internet coverage to underserved areas,” said Dr. David R. Hatfield, the Superintendent of Halifax Area School District.

The commissioners have been working for years to find a partner for the project after hearing about the hardship from parents, school administrators and educators, and business owners.

“Having easy access to fast, secure internet service should not be a luxury,” Commissioner George P. Hartwick, III said.

Dauphin County will be funding 75 percent of the project as a one-time contribution, and Comcast will commit the remaining funds to build the network. Comcast will be responsible for the maintenance of the network.

The partners are going to communicate with impacted school districts, businesses, and residents as the project continues.