A bill supported by Pennsylvania Farm Bureau that would identify opportunities to expand high-speed internet infrastructure is moving forward in the state House of Representatives.
The state House Consumer Affairs Committee approved Senate Bill 442 with a 23-2 vote, sending the measure to the full chamber for consideration. The state Senate passed the bill in May.
The legislation, sponsored by Sen. Kristen Phillips-Hill of York County, would direct the state Department of General Services to compile a list of state-owned assets that be used to host technology to expand broadband access.
Increasingly, broadband access is becoming critical to agriculture, business and daily life but many rural areas in Pennsylvania lack adequate service. That digital divide was especially highlighted during the COVID-19 pandemic, when many essential aspects of daily life such as work, education and medicine moved online putting residents in areas where service is lacking at a disadvantage.
Pennsylvania Farm Bureau believe a multi-pronged approach is needed to expand high-speed internet access in Pennsylvania and examining state assets that could assist in broadband deployment is just one of those steps.