May. 27, 2020

HARRISBURG – Rep. Clint Owlett’s (R-Tioga/Bradford/Potter) legislation to help expand broadband access across rural Pennsylvania has been approved by the House Consumer Affairs Committee and now goes to the full House for consideration.

Watch Rep. Owlett talk about his bill before the committee vote here.

“There is no question our rural residents are at an economic and educational disadvantage due to the lack of accessible high-speed internet access, and that’s never been more obvious than over the last few weeks as our schools and businesses were forced to shut down,” Owlett said. “At the state level, there’s been more talk than actual progress on the issue of broadband expansion over the last few years. Fortunately, some of our local utilities are ready, willing and able to bridge the gap. We just need to help facilitate those efforts.”

House Bill 2438 would allow rural electric cooperatives to use their existing infrastructure to deploy fiber lines for broadband service.

“Just like electric cooperatives blazed the trail for bringing electric service to our most remote areas of the state, they are in a position to do the same for high-speed internet access,” Owlett said. “In my area, Tri-County Rural Electric has embarked on such a project with great results. I hope my bill will help other cooperatives do the same.”

In addition to Owlett’s bill, the committee also approved House Bill 2348, which would create the Unserved High-Speed Broadband Funding Program to create a grant program to help further deploy rural broadband. Owlett is a co-sponsor of the bill.

Representative Clint Owlett
68th District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact: Patricia Hippler