A big win in our fight to connect you and your family with affordable high-speed internet

As we close out 2021 and prepare to enter the new year, I want to share some exciting news about our fight to put you and your family first. Governor Tom Wolf recently signed landmark legislation that I helped pass with my state House and Senate colleagues to help connect every Pennsylvanian with quality, affordable internet.

Whether you use it as an information hub, pay bills, or stay in touch with friends and family, the internet is a vital resource that we all rely on, which is why it is so critical for high-speed broadband to be available to everyone and not determined by a person’s ZIP code. However, since well before COVID-19, our communities have faced challenges associated with a growing digital divide – a reality that has only intensified because of the pandemic.

This internet expansion is a major step in our fight to close the gap by establishing the Pennsylvania Broadband Development Authority – the first of its kind in the commonwealth. The 11-member authority board would be in charge of creating a statewide broadband plan and distributing grant funding for broadband expansion projects in areas that need it the most. 

We live in an age heavily supported by evolving technology that continues creating life changing opportunities. This includes telemedicine, which offers patients the chance to receive state of the art care at home, eliminating the stresses of having to find a ride to an appointment or dealing with crowded waiting rooms. 

During public emergencies such as COVID-19, virtual schooling allows students to keep learning and further their education, while teleworking lets people continue working to put food on the table, pay the bills, and provide for themselves and their families. 

With the rapid spread of the COVID-19 Omicron variant, the internet is providing us the chance to still spend time with loved ones this holiday season both near and far safely through online gatherings. 

From our youngest constituents to our wisest neighbors, I am working to make sure you and everyone across our communities have the tools you need to utilize and benefit from these critical technological advancements.

In the meantime, there are federally funded assistance services available aimed at cutting internet costs. The Affordable Connectivity Program provides qualified households with a discount of up to $30 per month toward internet service along with a one-time discount of up to $100 to purchase a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet from participating providers. Enrollment opens on December 31, 2021. 

Then there is LifeLine, which provides eligible consumers with a monthly discount of up to nearly $10 on their internet bill. 

If you want to find out if you are eligible and need help applying for these programs or are seeking assistance about a state-related matter, please give my office a call at (215) 748-6712 or stop by at 52 S. 60 St. in Philadelphia, Monday – Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. We are here to serve you!