Rep. Snyder introduces legislation to fund broadband access in state

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State Rep. Pam Snyder (D-Greene/Fayette/Washington) announced Thursday that she would be introducing legislation to fund broadband access for all Pennsylvanians.

Snyder’s legislation would use funds from the state’s share of the American Rescue Plan to ensure all Pennsylvania residents have equal access to broadband internet access.

“Even before the pandemic occurred, residents across Pennsylvania have struggled with reliable access to broadband,” Snyder said. “With our increasingly digital world, it’s imperative that our students, workers, and local businesses can connect, and my bill would ensure all communities can have equal access.”

The legislation would allocate $500 million of Pennsylvania’s share of American Rescue Plan funds for the Unserved High-Speed Broadband Funding program, which funds broadband expansion efforts in unserved and underserved areas of the state.

“Affordable access to quality broadband internet is a necessity in our modern world,” she said. “Yet, many rural areas and numerous urban communities across our Commonwealth have been left behind with lagging internet speed and poor broadband availability. Without reliable internet access, many workers, local businesses, and students are given an unfair disadvantage in an increasingly digital world. It is time we ensure reliable broadband internet to all Pennsylvanians, regardless of where they live.

In a co-sponsorship memorandum to her legislative colleagues, Snyder said the state legislature missed an opportunity to fund the Unserved High-Speed program during the state’s budget process and that using the American Rescue Plan funds was another opportunity to use the money to level the playing field for all Pennsylvanians.