HARRISBURG – The House Consumer Affairs Committee advanced legislation sponsored by Senator Kristin Phillips-Hill (R-York) that would address major challenges with expanding access to high-speed internet in unserved and underserved areas in the Commonwealth.
Under Phillips-Hill’s Senate Bill 442, the Department of General Services would be required to conduct a wide-ranging inventory of all state-owned properties for the use of deploying high-speed internet.
“The state is the largest landowner in Pennsylvania and can and should play an active role in closing our digital divide. This legislation would allow the state to assess all available options to deploy internet in areas most in need,” Phillips-Hill said.
The bill would also require all revenue from a massive contract to aid in expanding access to high-speed internet.
“The Wolf Administration entered into a 20-year contract with an out-of-state vendor in 2019 to market our state-owned properties to monetize these assets. Unfortunately, the revenue generated by this contract only grows the coffers of state government and the vendor. The state contract does not put a penny to closing our state’s digital divide. My legislation fixes that problem moving forward by dedicating this revenue to this major problem,” she said.
The bill would also encourage counties to conduct their own inventory but would not mandate them to do so.
The bill moves to the House of Representatives for consideration.