REGION—The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) issued a release last Thursday urging residents to contact the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) in regards to a potential lapse in funding which could see the absence of at least $1 million for Wayne County to put toward development of broadband internet systems.

As earlier reported, there is a current broadband expansion project extending high-speed internet services from South Canaan Township into the business park in Hamlin.

This project is overseen by the Laurel Highlands Total Communication (LHTC) Broadband company – formerly South Canaan Telephone Company.

LHTC Broadband General Manager Eric Smith stated the project would be unaffected by any such loss in funding as it is already in motion to be completed.

Smith cautioned that future projects might be affected.

According to the PUC release, funding for broadband expansion programs in the state are supplemented by the Connect America Fund Phase II program (CAF II) which draws revenue from surcharges paid by state residences and businesses.

This funding is accepted by most local telephone companies for the purposes of upgrading internet services to comply with the federally mandated minimums (10 Mbps download and 1 Mbps upload).

Verizon phone companies, however, have opted not to accept the funding, leaving $140 million across Pennsylvania up for grabs.

The FCC is planning to hold an auction for the unused funding which could see that money leaving the commonwealth.

The PUC and the state Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) have petitioned the FCC to consider Pennsylvania more heavily in the auction and prevent the money going elsewhere.

Both the PUC and DCED encourage residents and businesses to contact the FCC in support of their efforts.

Those looking to do so can submit filings to the FCC by mail or online at www.fcc.gov/ecfs.

Instructions on how to do so are available on the PUC website: www.puc.pa.gov.

—Information from a release was used in this story.