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Causer, Owlett, Pickett continue push toward broadband expansion

HARRISBURG — The House Consumer Affairs Committee today approved legislation authored by Reps. Martin Causer, R-Cameron/McKean/Potter, Clint Owlett, R-Tioga/Bradford/Potter, and Tina Pickett, R-Bradford/Sullivan/Susquehanna, to continue their push to bring much-needed broadband service to the Northern Tier.

House Bill 2071 would establish the Pennsylvania Broadband Development Authority to facilitate funds anticipated through a federal infrastructure bill recently approved by Congress. The Commonwealth is expected to receive at least $100 million initially with the potential to obtain more after the authority develops a statewide plan for broadband expansion.

The authority would serve as a single point of contact for parties interested in developing broadband or having broadband developed, helping to minimize duplication and maximize the use of existing infrastructure. The authority would also be charged with identifying access to funding sources and help coordinate joint efforts for broadband buildout.

The lawmakers noted the law creating the authority would sunset after six years.

The bill now goes to the full House for consideration.

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