PA bill looks to expand broadband internet service in rural areas

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Harrisburg, Pa. (WETM) — Whether you’re working from home or online learning, access to high-speed internet is crucial. But what about areas without that access?

Pennsylvania State Rep. Clint Owlett introduced a bill that would help expand broadband internet service in rural areas throughout the state.

Using existing infrastructure and easements held by rural electric cooperatives, the bill would clear the way for rural electric cooperatives, cable companies or any entity wanting to run broadband cable.

“There are many challenges to providing high-speed internet service in rural communities like ours, and one of those is the regulatory red tape that slows down progress and increases costs,” Rep. Owlett said. “My bill helps cut through some of that red tape and will go a long way toward helping to bring this much-needed service to the far reaches of our Commonwealth.”

The representative stressed the bill won’t fix the problem overnight.

“Broadband deployment is still a slow and costly process, but this bill is a significant step in the right direction,” Rep. Owlett said. “We are also working on a bill to provide funding to support a variety of efforts.”

The bill is on Gov. Tom Wolf’s desk awaiting his signature to become law. If signed, it will go into effect in 60 days.

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