Pa. lawmakers applaud passing of broadband expansion bill

Pennsylvania Politics

(WHTM) — Three Pa. lawmakers are applauding House Bill 2071 becoming an official law. Now Act 96 of 2021, the new law will establish the Pennsylvania Broadband Development Authority to coordinate and facilitate funds in order to bring high-speed internet service to rural and other underserved communities across the state.

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While the Commonwealth is expected to receive $100 million, there is a potential for more funding to be obtained after a statewide plan for the broadband expansion is developed by the authority.

The development authority created by the law will help to manage the funds in a coordinated and strategic way to support the construction of new towers, lines, and broadband equipment, and other uses in line with federal law and guidance.

“This is a great day for all of us who have been fighting for broadband access in the most rural areas of the Commonwealth,” said a sponsor of the bill and State Representative Tina Pickett (R -Bradford/Sulivan/Susquehanna). “Broadband infrastructure is as vital to our communities and our economy as our utilities and transportation infrastructure. I look forward to better connectivity for everyone in the Northern Tier.”

State Representative Martin Causer (R-Cameron/McKean/Poter) and Clint Owlett (R-Tioga/Bradford/Potter) were also sponsors of the bill.

The authority will dissolve in ten years or when the federal funds have been exhausted. The law is effective immediately.

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