Broadband regulations modernized under legislation, SB 85, introduced by state Sen. Kristin Phillips-Hill (R-York)

State Sen. Kristin Phillips-Hill (R-York) has re-introduced legislation, SB 85. that will modernize and streamline telecom regulations in Pennsylvania. Hill, Senate Majority Caucus Chair and vice-chair of the Communications & Technology Committee, introduced the legislation last session as SB 341.

In her co-sponsorship memo, Hill said that the legislation is “long overdue, and is a fundamental component of our efforts to facilitate the deployment of broadband services in rural parts of the Commonwealth. ”

“Over the last few years, many Pennsylvanians have had to turn to the internet to work from home, educate their children, seek medical care or apply for assistance and/or waivers from the state and federal government,” she said. “We have heard from many individuals about the challenges this has posed, and they have asked for the digital divide to be closed sooner rather than later as high-speed internet is needed now more than ever in our history.”

She added that “many of the regulations which exist in our Public Utility Code have been in place for decades while changes in technology and in the telecommunications marketplace have made these costly requirements unnecessary or illogical. Indeed, Chapters 63 and 64 of the Code have not been subject to any comprehensive review to examine their relevancy and application to the realities of today’s telecommunications industry. The days of monopoly landline telcos are gone, evidenced by the fact that Pennsylvania’s landline telcos provide less than 12 percent of total voice subscriptions in the state.”