Snyder: Component of rural broadband package clears House committee

Measure seeks audit of state Education Technology Fund

HARRISBURG, April 9 – A component of the effort by state Rep. Pam Snyder and her partner in pushing for expansion of rural broadband, state Rep. Kristin Phillips-Hill, was approved today by the House Education Committee.

Snyder, D-Greene/Fayette/Washington, said H.R. 431, which calls for an audit of the state’s Education Technology Fund, has now cleared a critical hurdle on its path to a House vote.

“Our resolution calls for this fund, which is administered by the Education Department, to be audited by state Auditor General Eugene DePasquale’s office,” Snyder said. “The E-Fund, as it is known, is a six-year education technology program financed by non-rural telecommunications carriers. We want to make sure it’s operating as intended.”

Upon completion of the audit, the resolution put forth by Snyder and Phillips-Hill also calls for DePasquale to share his findings with the General Assembly.

Snyder and Phillips-Hill, R-York, who have led the House effort to bring high-speed internet to unserved and underserved rural areas, have introduced a four-bill package to accomplish that goal. The other parts are:

  • H.R. 429, which establishes a special bipartisan, bicameral legislative commission to recommend improvements to the deployment of high-speed broadband services in unserved and underserved areas;

  • H.R. 430, which directs the Joint State Government Commission to conduct an in-depth investigation and audit into the compliance of non-rural telecommunication carriers, and report findings and recommendations to the legislature; and

  • H.B. 1642, which directs the Department of General Services to conduct an inventory of all state department, agency, commission or institution owned communication towers, poles, buildings, and facilities to leverage existing state-owned assets for the provisioning of high speed broad-band internet to unserved and underserved areas.