TIOGA COUNTY, Pa. (WETM) – Broadband and a lack of internet connection are some of the most critical issues residents in rural areas face. Tioga County is now taking steps towards bettering communication.

“With the lack of connectivity, we have nothing,” Lauren Lesher, Community Service Officer, Troop F, Montoursville.

For first responders, a lack of connectivity poses a real threat.

“We weren’t able to even locate calls on a map and we weren’t able to get ahold of anyone on our radio,” said Lesher.

“It’s important for everybody, but we want our first responders especially to be able to be connected,” said Rep. Clint Owlett (R-Wellsboro).

Local leaders gathered in Tioga County to announce a step towards better communication for first responders, thanks to a partnership by First Net and AT&T. One of the three cell sites stood tall right across the street of the event.

“It’s going to allow us to have a quicker response,” said Lesher.

The event took place against the picturesque backdrop of Pennsylvania’s rolling hills. The very landscape that makes connectivity so challenging in these rural areas.

“This is Pennsylvania, it’s not flat. There’s always going to be some challenges in getting coverage, no matter what the technology is,” Holly Caudill, First Net Representative.

“What we’re doing is enhancing every element of what a rural community can now have access to, what has otherwise up to now, been denied, not by anything other than the region and or obstacles of what that region consists of,” said Erick Coolidge, Tioga County Commissioner.

Tioga County commissioners say this investment isn’t just about the county, it’s about the needs of rural residents.

“We’re serving the populous, we’re serving needs in general, it doesn’t stop at the county’s edge…it’s how far can we go,” said Coolidge.