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House of Representatives
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: May 1, 2020 10:51 AM
From: Representative Christopher M. Rabb
To: All House members
Subject: Providing an emergency lifeline broadband benefit to qualified low-income families
During this time of uncertainty, one of the most important ways to maintain a healthy population is to ensure that all Pennsylvanians have basic internet access in their homes. 
While quarantine measures are already widely implemented and mandated, Pennsylvanians without internet access are at a significant disadvantage. 
Without reliable and affordable internet access, people won’t be able to work from home, students can’t continue with their studies, people who are unemployed can’t find a new job, and our family and friends cannot maintain critical contact with loved ones. 
For this reason, I am introducing a bill that would provide an emergency lifeline broadband benefit to qualified low-income families and individuals
This bill would require internet providers to establish at least 25 megabits per second of download speed to households for the duration of a public health emergency or quarantine period. 
Service providers will be eligible for a reimbursement of costs associated with providing broadband service to qualified homes. 
The U.S. has the slowest, most expensive and most inequitably distributed internet access among all industrialized nations despite it being invented here with significant financial support from taxpayers rich and poor. Yet, it is during times like these that our government must rally to protect vulnerable populations asked to shelter at home to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
Our basic needs as parents, students, consumers, employees, business-owners who’ve been asked to self-quarantine for the public good require affordable and reliable broadband access. 
Ensuring households most in need have access to this critical lifeline benefit will expedite our collective recovery. And broadband internet access for all Pennsylvanians amid this extended emergency will help us do so together while physically apart.

Introduced as HB2637