Snyder legislation would increase broadband speeds dramatically

Rural residents, businesses would benefit from improved internet, wireless services

HARRISBURG, Oct. 4 – State Rep. Pam Snyder, D-Greene/Fayette/Washington, today said she has introduced legislation that would upgrade the state standard for broadband service, increasing broadband download and upload speeds exponentially for many rural residents and businesses.

House Bill 2394 would put rural areas on a more equal footing with urban areas in terms of internet, voice, video and wireless service,” Snyder said. “Rural areas need effective broadband to stay connected and succeed in the Information Age.”

Snyder drafted the legislation to address constituents’ concerns. An Aug. 17 House Consumer Affairs hearing at Waynesburg University convened at Snyder’s request provided detailed testimony about the difficulties families, students and businesses endure trying to cope with substandard broadband service.

“My legislation would put the state standard for retail broadband service on par with federal guidelines,” Snyder said. “The state standards for high speed broadband are woefully behind the times, and rural areas deserve the affordable and adequate service that 99 percent of urban residents and businesses already enjoy.”

Under H.B. 2394, fixed, retail broadband in Pennsylvania would be required to serve consumers with at least 10 megabits per second (Mbps) for downloads and 1 Mbps for uploads, roughly seven times higher than the 1.544 Mbps for downloads and 0.128 Mbps for uploads now required under Pennsylvania’s Chapter 30 regulations.

“Five years ago, the Federal Communications Commission increased required broadband speeds almost four times faster than Pennsylvania’s current standards for companies receiving federal Connect America incentive funding,” Snyder said. “Now, the FCC-required speeds are at least 10 Mbps for downloads and 1 Mbps for uploads, and Pennsylvania needs to catch up.

“Increasing speeds means that rural Pennsylvanians can tap the benefits provided by broadband through faster web downloads, improved video streaming, and service capable of supporting multiple users in a household,” Snyder said. “This upgrade is crucial to the region’s advancement.”