Dec. 14, 2021

HARRISBURG – Legislation to help get much-needed broadband service to the Commonwealth’s rural communities passed the state House unanimously on Monday, said Rep. Ryan Warner (R-Fayette/Westmoreland), a vocal advocate on the issue.

“Those of us who live in rural Pennsylvania have long known the need for better internet service to help our students, business owners, and health care providers and patients,” Warner said. “The difficulties of the pandemic finally helped others outside our rural communities to see how disadvantaged our communities really are.

“I am very pleased to see the overwhelming, unanimous support for this initiative that I believe will finally get the ball rolling on comprehensive rural broadband expansion in the state,” he added.

House Bill 2071 would establish the Pennsylvania Broadband Development Authority to facilitate funds anticipated through a federal infrastructure bill recently approved by Congress. The Commonwealth is expected to receive at least $100 million initially with the potential to obtain more after the authority develops a statewide plan for broadband expansion.

Under the bill, the authority also would serve as a single point of contact for parties interested in developing broadband or having broadband developed, helping to minimize duplication and maximize the use of existing infrastructure. Additionally, the authority would be charged with identifying access to funding sources and helping to coordinate joint efforts for broadband buildout.

The law authorizing the authority would sunset after six years.

The measure is currently before the Senate for consideration.

Representative Ryan Warner
52nd Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

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