Commissioners approve high-speed internet expansion along Route 40

Mike Jones

High-speed broadband internet is being expanded to other parts of Route 40 in Washington County after it was announced last month that the service would be coming to Scenery Hill.

The county commissioners unanimously approved a contract with DQE Communications for the company to install broadband in the villages of Glyde and Beallsville during their Thursday afternoon meeting.

The expansion will benefit 199 houses and 22 businesses in the three villages on the Route 40 corridor. That includes the 97 houses and five businesses in Scenery Hill that the county announced last month will receive high-speed services.

Commissioners Larry Maggi and Nick Sherman approved two contracts with DQE in which the county will pay $45,091 for installation of broadband in Glyde and $29,153 in Beallsville. Commission Chairwoman Diana Irey Vaughan did not attend Thursday’s voting meeting. Overall, the county will pay a total of $109,772 for total installation along the Route 40 corridor, while DQE will contribute $346,500 for the project.

“Old National Pike is America’s first national highway, with the first ever congressional funding,” Maggi said in a written statement. “It was first funded over 200 years ago; how ironic that we are here approving a broadband superhighway?”

DQE officials previously said they have nearby fiber networks, which make the expansion project relatively inexpensive.

The contract awards are part of the county’s overall effort to expand broadband to underserved or unserved areas that have slow or unreliable internet service using federal stimulus funds. The county recently completed a similar project to connect high-speed internet to portions of Jefferson Township near Avella as part of a pilot program. County officials are expecting to award more contracts in other areas in the coming weeks.