Scavello: Senate Advances Measures to Boost Broadband Availability Across PA

HARRISBURG – The Senate approved two bills Wednesday to boost the availability of broadband by reducing regulatory burdens on telecommunications companies and utilizing existing infrastructure to further deploy high-speed internet, according to Senator Mario Scavello (R-40), who co-sponsored one of the bills.

Senate Bill 1112, co-sponsored by Senator Scavello, would break down barriers to broadband deployment by modernizing the Public Utility Code and requiring the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission to waive certain regulations, review regulations every three years and eliminate those that are no longer necessary or in the public interest.

Many of the regulations in the Public Utility Code were originally designed solely for telephone companies and have been in place for decades without being reviewed for relevancy. Changes in technology and in the telecommunications marketplace have made these costly regulations unnecessary.

House Bill 2438 would aid in the deployment of broadband by using infrastructure that is already in place for other uses. The bill would allow electric cooperatives to utilize existing utility poles to place fiber-optic lines if the placement does not adversely affect the value or use of the property.

Both bills would boost the state’s efforts to expand broadband in unserved and underserved areas in rural Pennsylvania.

“Since my first day as a State Representative and then a State Senator, I have made infrastructure investment, including broadband and communication networks, a top priority”, said Senator Scavello. “This technology is very important for our region, and I remain committed to improving broadband infrastructure and reducing the number of cellular ‘dead zones’ in Monroe and Northampton counties.”

Senate Bill 1112 was sent to the House of Representatives for consideration. House Bill 2438 was returned to the House for concurrence on Senate amendments.

 

CONTACT: Christine Zubeck czubeck@pasen.gov (717) 787-6123