PA Senate Panel Approves Bill to Provide Broadband Access to Rural/Underserved Areas

PA Senate Panel Approves Bill to Provide Broadband Access to Rural/Underserved Areas

HARRISBURG, PA — The Senate Communications and Technology Committee yesterday approved legislation sponsored by Senator Wayne Langerholc, Jr. (R-35) that would establish a grant program to extend the deployment of broadband services in underserved areas of the state.

Senate Bill 835 would provide funding to improve access to high-speed broadband internet in rural areas of PA, which currently do not have access to reliable networks. It would limit funding to entities that have demonstrated the ability to construct and administer internet services and require that they provide 25 percent of the funding for the project.

During the meeting, Langerholc stressed that access to broadband is vital in responding to emergencies, such as the August 2, 2017, train derailment in Hyndman, Bedford County. It is also vital to gaining access to more educational opportunities and high-paying jobs.

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“The COVID-19 pandemic has also highlighted the need for reliable broadband services in the Commonwealth,” Langerholc said. “Broadband provides vital access to the outside world and ensures that state residents have the resources they need to be safe, productive and successful.”

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