Snyder launching two-pronged campaign to improve broadband internet service

Appeal to join Microsoft initiative, four-bill legislative package on tap

CARMICHAELS, July 13 – State Rep. Pam Snyder, D-Greene/Fayette/Washington, today said she is launching a two-pronged effort to expand availability of high-speed internet service with an appeal to Microsoft to include Pennsylvania in its broadband expansion effort and a four-bill legislative package.

“I’m launching an all-out effort to persuade Microsoft to include Pennsylvania in its plan to expand broadband internet to 2 million rural Americans over the next five years,” Snyder said. “Southwestern Pennsylvania is a perfect fit for Microsoft’s Rural Airband Initiative.”

Snyder said Microsoft unveiled the initiative this week to expand broadband connectivity by employing unused TV spectrum. However, the technology giant did not include Pennsylvania among the 12 states where it will launch pilot programs.

“I think informing Microsoft of the difficulties local families, students and businesses endure trying to cope with substandard broadband service could turn the tide in Pennsylvania’s favor,” Snyder said. “We need everyone on board to press our case that we need improved internet service as soon as possible.”

Snyder said she envisions a petition drive as part of an all-out effort to join the Rural Airband Initiative.

“Increasing broadband connectivity would enable more rural Pennsylvanians to tap into critical cyber-benefits through faster web downloads, improved video streaming and service capable of supporting multiple users in a household,” Snyder said. “In the information age, upgrading the region’s internet services is crucial.”

Snyder said she also has teamed with state Rep. Kristin Hill, R-York, to propose a four-bill package to expand high-speed broadband internet service in Pennsylvania. The soon-to-be introduced legislation features:

  • H.R. 429, which would establish a bipartisan, bicameral legislative commission to recommend improvements to the deployment of high-speed broadband services in unserved and underserved areas;

  • H.R. 430, which would call for an investigation and audits into non-rural telecommunications carriers’ compliance with state laws regarding internet service;

  • H.R. 431, which would call for an audit of the state Education Department’s Educational Technology Fund, a 6-year education-technology program financed by non-rural telecommunication carriers; and

  • H.B. 1642, which would direct the Department of General Services to inventory all state communication towers, poles, buildings and facilities to leverage those assets with the effort to expand high-speed broadband internet service to unserved and underserved areas.

“I’m excited by the bipartisan approach that Representative Hill and I have launched,” Snyder said. “Rural areas deserve affordable and adequate service that 99 percent of urban residents and businesses already enjoy, and the four bills we’re introducing should help bring about needed changes and improvements.”