EYEWITNESS NEWS (WBRE/WYOU) — Rural and other underserved communities in Pennsylvania are getting closer to being connected to the rest of the world through the internet.

High-speed internet is on its way to students, businesses, and residents across the commonwealth as Governor Wolf recently signed House Bill 20-71 into law.

It establishes the Pennsylvania Broadband Development Authority, which will be responsible for creating a statewide plan and managing $100M coming from the federal government.

“Manufacturing, all kinds of real estate, every industry, a sector in York County and across the commonwealth will benefit from improved access to highspeed internet,” explained Senator Kristin Phillips-Hill

Expanding access to broadband has been a priority for Governor Wolf throughout his administration.

In 2019 Wolf visited Towanda Area Junior-Senior High School in Bradford County. The governor talked about how this area, in particular, lacks access to “robust, reliable, high-speed internet.”

“This school district right now is trying to do things to connect their students to the 21 century, they need broadband. Without that, they can’t do those things,” said Governor Tom Wolf.

House Bill 20-71 works to change that.

Under the bill, 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 helping coordinate joint efforts for broadband buildout. The law is effective immediately.

Money will go toward the construction of new towers, lines and broadband equipment, and other uses in line with federal law and guidance.

The authority will dissolve in 10 years, or when all available federal funds have been exhausted.