Do you need faster or more reliable internet for your home or businesses?
The York County Commissioners, York County Economic Alliance, and YoCo Fiber Broadband Task Force are working towards the goal of countywide broadband access to bring faster, more reliable, and more affordable internet to your home or business. We believe that broadband is crucial infrastructure for education, telehealth, business, and our residents’ general quality of life. By investing in broadband and supporting public private partnerships to connect internet to homes and businesses, we can ensure York County is an attractive place to live and a competitive place to do business.
In 2020, we completed an assessment report and business plan (available for download below) for a countywide Middle Mile fiber network that will expand broadband access into underserved parts of the county and attract private providers to invest in making connections to homes and businesses. We are currently raising the funds to begin construction of the first several phases of the network. We also invested $1.5 million in CARES Act funding to create a 16-mile fiber pilot project, underneath the York Heritage Rail Trail. You can learn more about the pilot project by watching the video on the right.
Countywide broadband access is a complex and expensive undertaking, and we appreciate your support and enthusiasm as we work towards advancing the YoCo Fiber initiative!
If you have questions or concerns, please contact YoCoFiber@yceapa.org.
YoCo Fiber Broadband Task Force
On February 3, 2021, the York County Commissioners unanimously voted to establish the YoCo Fiber Broadband Task Force to advise the county on developing and implementing a countywide broadband strategy. Click here for an overview of the task force’s role.
Task Force Members
Facilitator: Dr. Silas Chamberlin, York County Economic Alliance
- Dr. Nathan Van Deusen, Superintendent, South Eastern School District
- Shayne Smith, Regional External Affairs, Met Ed / First Energy
- Chaz Green, Director, Public Works, City of York
- Mick Murphy, VP and Chief Technology Officer, WellSpan
- Phil Witkowski, Director of Telehealth, UPMC – Pinnacle Hospitals
- Kevin Schreiber, President & CEO, York County Economic Alliance
- Gary Laird, President & CEO, Hanover Chamber of Commerce
- Jeff Vermeulen, AVP, York College / JD Brown Center for Entrepreneurship
- Felicia Dell, Executive Director, York County Planning Commission
- John Klinedinst, County Engineer, CS Davidson
- Isaac Tucker, Director, Katapult Engineering / Dillsburg Borough Council
- Mark Derr, County Administrator, County of York
- Joe Sassano, Executive Director, IT / CIO, County of York
York County commissioned Lit Communities and Katapult Engineering to develop a strategy for countywide broadband. The final report documents existing conditions, best practices, scenarios for building out Middle Mile and Last Mile broadband networks, and financial models for design, construction, operations, and ownership. The final report was released in February 2021.
On June 30th, 2021, the York County Commissioners allocated $25 million of federal funds, which the county received via the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), to closing the digital divide in York County. This allocation committed $20 million to construct the first 144-miles of the 333-mile middle mile network described in the York County Broadband Plan and $5 million to build an urban wireless network to expand access to the internet in the York and Hanover Metro areas. Throughout 2021, a needs survey was conducted which demonstrated the current lack of high-speed internet and the broad demand for internet services to be enhanced or made available via the YoCo Broadband Initiative.
In December 2021, the York County Commissioners took two important steps to advance the YoCo Fiber Initiative. First, they issued a Request for Information (RFI) for a private partner to build last mile connections from the middle mile fiber line beneath the Heritage Rail Trail to residents and businesses in the boroughs of Seven Valleys, Glen Rock, Railroad, and New Freedom. Second, the Commissioners issued an RFI to design, engineer, and construct 144 miles of the middle mile network as phase one of the middle mile with the intent of expanding middle mile coverage across the Southern portion of York County. These 144 miles constitute Phase 1 of the middle mile project.
Results of the YoCo Fiber Demand Survey:
- 1,290 survey participants yielding a 99% confidence level and 3.5% margin of error
- 31% do not have high-speed internet access
- 46% dissatisfied with speed or reliability of current service
- 30% of speed tests failed to meet 25/3 Mbps
- 58% of speed tests failed to achieve 100 Mbps download speed
- 87% would sign up for broadband or enhanced services if they were available
Figure 1 Map of the 16-mile Middle Mile connection which was constructed below the Heritage Rail Trail in 2020.
Figure 2 The location of the four Boroughs that are included in the Last Mile Project.
Figure 3 Map showing the General Location of the portion of York County which will be served by the Middle Mile Network which it be constructed in Phase 1.
Figure 4 Map showing the need for broadband access in the York Metro Area.
Figure 5 Map showing the need for Increased Broadband Access in the Hanover Metro Area.
By April 2022, five Internet Service Providers (ISP) had bid on the last mile project and six ISPs bid on the middle mile project. These bids are actively under review by the YoCo Fiber Broadband Task Force and the York County Commissioners and a final decision on these RFIs is expected to be forthcoming.
In addition to extend access to broadband internet to in the rural portions of York County, the York County Broadband Plan outlined the need to expand access to Broadband Internet in the urban York County. Census data from 2015 – 2019 shows that many sections of the York and Hanover Metro areas contain large number of residents who lack access to broadband internet.
With this in mind, in parallel to last and middle mile projects, the York County Commissioners contracted Business Information Group (BIG) to design an urban wireless network which would provide basic, free internet access covering the York and Hanover Metro areas. This design was completed in March 2022 and the Commissioners, and the YoCo Fiber Task Force are evaluating the next steps for this project.
Figure 6 Map showing the partial coverage area of the network designed by Business Information Group (BIG) as part of the Urban Wireless Project.