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House of Representatives
Session of 2015 - 2016 Regular Session


Posted: September 13, 2016 10:07 AM
From: Representative Pam Snyder
To: All House members
Subject: Broadband Access
In the near future I will introduce legislation to increase the state standard, currently in place for retail broadband service, to match the Federal standard set forth through the Connect America initiative. The existing statutory standard for broadband access speed defined in Chapter 30 of title 66 is 1.544 Mbps download and 0.128 upload. This benchmark is very low for today’s technology and my legislation would raise the broadband speeds to 10 Mbps download and 1 Mbps upload.

Broadband is how we provide internet, voice, video, and wireless service to consumers using new technology. These services, that were once considered a luxury, are now services people rely upon to function in their everyday lives. Small business owners, students, and families, just to name a few, need broadband to stay connected and succeed in our modern society. Not having adequate access to broadband is a significant limitation on lives of people who face this reality.

Chapter 30 intended to ensure that reasonable and affordable broadband service is available to all Pennsylvania residents. While the incumbent local exchange carriers (ILECs) have all reported 100% compliance with the current regulatory standards, many problems still exist, with rural areas experiencing the bulk of the hardships. Quite frankly, Pennsylvania’s current required broadband speeds are woefully inadequate by today’s standards. To meet the broadband standards in place ILECs use joint venture agreements with wireless and satellite companies. However, the satellite or wireless connection being used to provide the broadband service has not been reliable, as evident by the high volume of complaints that have been received. The affordability of satellite or wireless broadband is also a concern compared to the Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) service offered by the ILECs in other parts of their service territory. Residents and small business in our rural communities deserve adequate and affordable access to high speed broadband.

This is important for the quality of life of our rural residents and for our rural small businesses to attract and retain a high-wage, high skilled work force, for a healthy and growing economy. I urge you to join me in co-sponsoring this important legislation.

Introduced as HB2394