‘There is just not service’: COVID-19 pandemic spurs internet expansion efforts in rural Pennsylvania

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Created Date

May 1, 2021 - 3:00pm


Contributed date

May 1, 2021 - 3:08pm

Critical Commentary

This article discusses internet insecurity in rural Pennsylvania, which I have shared articles about in the past. The issue of internet access is framed around energy rights in an indirect way. Stephine A. Keebler, superintendent of Titusville Area School District in Crawford County "“When you look at internet access for education, health care, and, frankly, for everyday use, it becomes a basic skill you should have access to. We have families who absolutely can afford it and cannot get it. There’s just not service."

What is interesting is it not only uses the framing of "internet is a necessity you must pay for" but she also explicitly states that many of the families who do not have internet can afford but don't have access. This is in stark contrast to internet insecurity in Pennsylvania, where the inability to afford broadband is what prevents connection (although old housing stock is a factor as well).

Throughout the article, the notion of the pandemic pushing the necessity of internet into the spotlight is emphasized.

“Limited connectivity literally keeps you disconnected from what’s going on,” Mr. Maddocks said. “It puts people at a real disadvantage” and hurts businesses by making them less competitive.

“I shouldn’t be relegated to bad broadband because of my ZIP code,” said Gary Bolton, president and CEO of Fiber Broadband Association, a trade group based in Washington, D.C.

These comments were reflected in our follow up interviews, where numerous subjects commented that the pandemic made them realize the internet was a "right" or at least necessary for survival in today’s world.


The article also discusses Biden's infastructure plan, which includes $1 billion for states in the form of grants to expand broadband networks and $2 billion to get students connected for remote learning.



Mamula, K. B. (2021, April 13). 'There is just not service': COVID-19 pandemic spurs internet expansion efforts in rural Pennsylvania. Retrieved from https://www.post-gazette.com/business/tech-news/2021/04/12/Rural-Pennsyl...



Cite as

Kris B. Mamula, 1 May 2021, "‘There is just not service’: COVID-19 pandemic spurs internet expansion efforts in rural Pennsylvania", contributed by Andrew Rosenthal, The Energy Rights Project, Platform for Experimental Collaborative Ethnography, last modified 17 May 2021, accessed 19 April 2024. https://energyrights.info/content/‘there-just-not-service’-covid-19-pandemic-spurs-internet-expansion-efforts-rural