Last Thursday, the PA Chamber hosted the Infrastructure Roundtable, Part II: Broadband Expansion and Deployment Challenges and Opportunities for Pennsylvania webinar. PA Chamber Director of Government Affairs Kevin Sunday moderated a discussion about broadband access and deployment between Todd Eachus, President of the Broadband Cable Association of Pennsylvania; State Rep. Pam Snyder, D-Greene, Co-Chair of the PA Broadband Authority; and Darrin Youker, Director of State Government Affairs for the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau.
The discussion centered around broadband innovation and the state’s newly-created PA Broadband Authority, which will be responsible for overseeing the distribution of $100 million in federal aid made available through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. The PA Chamber supported this key piece of legislation.
Citing her legislative district as an example, Rep. Snyder said that there are too many Pennsylvanians without access to the internet. Additionally, she noted a stark gap between rural and urban areas regarding high-speed internet access. In fact, more than 500,000 residents are without broadband access in Pennsylvania, most of them in the state’s rural pockets of the state.
Eachus also provided an overview of broadband innovation and shared what companies are doing to expand broadband access across the Commonwealth.
Youker noted that broadband access would help to improve crop yields through the use of advanced technology and by improving efficiency in dairy milking operations.
Rep. Greene also noted that the Broadband Authority is in the process of hiring an executive director to oversee the distribution of funds.