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Pennsylvania lawmakers want to give rural businesses a boost

Want to build your brand? Want your business to stay competitive in changing times? Want to be able to offer remote work to some of your employees whenever it may be needed? Want access to some of the most innovative software-as-a-service business technology out there?

You need reliable internet access for all of those things — the kind of high-speed broadband connection that doesn’t come with dial-up services. For many businesses (and residences) in rural Pennsylvania, that’s not been possible.

Why isn’t broadband service currently available in rural PA?

Essentially, “red tape” is the reason that broadband access hasn’t already been available throughout the state. According to the Federal Communications Commission, that’s kept over 800,000 people in PA from having reliable internet access, the vast majority of them in rural areas.

House Bill 2438, recently signed into law by Governor Tom Wolf erases regulatory constraints that have kept rural electrical cooperatives and cable companies from using existing utility infrastructure and easements for developing broadband access.

How fast will change come to rural businesses?

Nothing worthwhile is likely to happen overnight, but the state’s General Assembly is keenly aware of the need for reliable internet service throughout the state. They know that it is essential for businesses to not only thrive but survive.

Broadband access is no longer being treated like a luxury item, so you can generally expect ongoing legislative attention to the issue — along with incentives and resources being poured into development. No matter how you look at it, this is a step in a positive direction for anybody looking to grow a business.