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Geisinger becomes the first member of Risant Health

DANVILLE, Pa. – A new project led by Driving Real Innovation for a Vibrant Economy (DRIVE) is set to expand high-speed, broadband internet access to much of Montour County, including many underserved areas, in early 2019. Funded by Geisinger, the project will build the infrastructure needed to easily and economically distribute internet services through third-party vendors.

“Truly high-speed internet is a vital piece of infrastructure that is not available to much of our region,” said Jennifer Wakeman, DRIVE executive director. “To compete in today’s economy students, employees, and businesses need to have access to broadband both at home and at work.”

Geisinger has partnered with DRIVE on the first phase of project by investing $300,000. This forgivable, interest-free loan will fully fund the startup of the project. The Danville-based health system sees the project as not only investing in the local economy but in the community’s health.

“Geisinger has actively supported the communities we serve since our founding with both healthcare services and broader programs,” said Timothy Fitzgerald, vice president of Treasury and Financial Systems for Geisinger. “We know that healthy economies support healthier communities and this project does just that. Among other benefits, it will allow providers and patients to better connect remotely to health services and address many social determinants of health."

The initial work to install the needed technology for a microwave internet distribution is underway at four locations throughout the county: the county’s 9-1-1 tower, Montour County Emergency Management Agency building, Geisinger’s Hospital for Advanced Medicine and USG in Washingtonville. Work is scheduled to be complete by Jan. 1, 2019 with access available later that month.

DRIVE will contract with internet service providers to distribute the internet capacity. Those private businesses will be responsible for sales, service and billing to their customers. 

“Wireless microwave technology is a cost-effective way of bringing broadband service to rural areas. This open-access network is built to serve the community and enhance opportunities for economic development,” Wakeman said. 

DRIVE, which is committed to economic development in Montour and Columbia counties, consulted other counties in the commonwealth that have done similar projects. The service will likely be expanded to Columbia County once results of the Montour County project are collected.

About DRIVE
DRIVE is an economic development council of governments serving Columbia and Montour Counties. DRIVE enhances the region through business retention and expansion as well as spurring new capital investment from companies outside the area. Established in 2015, DRIVE provides professional services to help businesses create and retain family-sustaining jobs. For more information about DRIVE, visit driveindustry.com or follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

About Geisinger
Geisinger is among the nation’s leading providers of value-based care, serving 1.2 million people in urban and rural communities across Pennsylvania. Founded in 1915 by philanthropist Abigail Geisinger, the non-profit system generates $10 billion in annual revenues across 134 care sites - including 10 hospital campuses, and Geisinger Health Plan, with 600,000 members in commercial and government plans. The Geisinger College of Health Sciences educates more than 5,000 medical professionals annually and conducts more than 1,400 clinical research studies. With 26,000 employees, including 1,600 employed physicians, Geisinger is among Pennsylvania’s largest employers with an estimated economic impact of $14 billion to the state’s economy. On March 31, 2024, Geisinger became the first member of Risant Health, a new nonprofit charitable organization created to expand and accelerate value-based care across the country.  Learn more at geisinger.org or connect with us on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and X.

 
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Montour Drive partnership

For media inquiries :

Joseph Stender
Media Specialist
Marketing & Communications

570-271-6968
jhstender@geisinger.edu
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