HARRISBURG – As we continue to explore the best possible solutions to address the multitude of issues surrounding rural broadband, Rep. Carl Metzgar (R-Somerset/Bedford) participated in a joint hearing with the House Consumer Affairs Committee and Senate Communications and Technology Committee on how residents in the Commonwealth can better perform their daily tasks.
“Broadband is a crucial issue for my district,” Metzgar said. “My constituents in Somerset and Bedford counties are mad. They are mad because for a number of years, they have watched dollar after dollar pour into creating rings of dark fiber that create no service for them at the end of the day. Effective broadband is needed to allow people to perform their work, pay their bills and stream their favorite shows.”
Held at the Capitol, the list of testifiers at the hearing included:
• Darrin Youker, PA Farm Bureau
• Jeremy Jurick, Michael Baker International
• Lance Grable, Beaver County Office of Planning & Redevelopment
• Michael Brayen, Nokia
• Sam Garfinkel, Metamesh
• Todd Eachus, Broadband Cable Association of Pennsylvania
• Steve Samara, PA Telephone Association
• Jim Morozzi, DQE Fiber
• Wayne Campbell, PA State Grange
• Melissa Gates, County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania
The common themes from today’s testimony include properly allocating funding for deployment in areas with the biggest needs, adequately implementing solutions to match the increased usage of technology and closing the digital divide between urban and rural areas.
According to written testimony from Gates, the National Association of Counties (NACo) collected data from more than 78% of the nation’s counties over the past year. According to the findings, 76% of counties averaged cellular connections below the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) minimum of 25 megabits per second (mbps) download and three mbps upload, and 59.6% of counties were experiencing fixed-wireless internet below the FCC minimum. In addition, more than 65% of counties were experiencing the internet at slower speeds than the levels reported by the industry.
“My district is extremely rural, and these statistics are alarming,” Metzgar said. “We cannot wait any longer to begin the process of implementing serious change to improve the lives of Pennsylvanians. The time to act is now, and I look forward to working with my colleagues on getting the ball rolling.”
To view Rep. Metzgar’s remarks, click the link here
To view the full hearing, click the link here
Representative Carl Walker Metzgar
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Nate Temple