Contact Information 
District Office
282 West King St., 1st Floor
Abbottstown, PA 17301
(717) 259-7805
Toll-Free: 1-877-480-9525
Hours: M-F 9:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Satellite Offices
South Middleton Township Building
520 Park Drive
Boiling Springs, PA 17007
Tuesday, Wednesday, 1st and 3rd Thursday of each month
9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Phone: (717) 612-0807 

North Newton Township Building
528 Oakville Road
Shippensburg, PA 17257
Second and fourth Thursday of every month, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Phone: (717) 612-0807
Toll free: 1-877-480-9525

Capitol Office
427 Irvis Office Building
PO Box 202193
Harrisburg PA 17120-2193
Phone (717) 783-8875
Fax (717) 787-7588
Connecting All Pennsylvanians to the Internet
4/25/2018


You would no doubt agree Pennsylvania is a significantly rural state. We have our two big cities, but the “T” dominates the rest. To put it in some sort of perspective, rural Pennsylvania is larger than the states of New Jersey, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Vermont combined.

Getting services to these rural residents can be challenging. Some people will respond by saying they have chosen to live there and must accept some of the difficulty they encounter for their remoteness. While that may be true to some extent, there are basic needs we must try to supply, no matter who lives where.

One of those I feel is access to broadband internet service. That statement will really raise some red flags, until you consider how technology has changed in recent years. Last week, the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau held a news conference in Harrisburg to stress the need for rural broadband in the agriculture community. State Rep. Martin Causer, representing Cameron, McKean and Potter counties, majority chairman of the House Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee, called statewide broadband internet access “not a luxury, but a necessity.” Another speaker, who owns a farm, may have said it best - “This is not just about my children being able to download Netflix.”

Access the internet is becoming, if it has not already, a staple of our lives in so many ways.
One of my colleagues, state Rep. Kristin Phillips-Hill from York County, first brought the problem to the attention of many General Assembly members a few years ago. Students from one of her rural school districts were being driven to school property so they could access the district’s Wi-Fi and complete their homework. It’s a perfectly legal practice, and obviously a necessary one if they wanted to finish their assignments.

Many of you are physically active and wear some sort of a “sports watch” to monitor your vital statistics. Did you know there are farmers who are placing the same type of device on their dairy cows to keep track of their health? Granted, many farmers will say you can tell a lot about a cow by looking in its eyes. This is 2018, and what is known as “artificial intelligence” has come to the farm (you might say it started in the 20th century with the automatic milking machine).
These are just a few instances where broadband internet access is mandatory and/or a goal we need to achieve. Consider this - is it truly homework if students can’t do it at home? What about the farmer who is counting on a reliable signal to maintain his connections to the herd? How about the cardiac patient who has a smartphone and wants to check his or her pacemaker? Think about the paramedic and patient who are brought together by a life-or-death situation and counting on the ability to relay vital signs and receive treatment recommendations.

Quite naturally, your first question should be, “How much will this cost?” Delivering sufficient broadband internet service to every nook and cranny of the Commonwealth will be a tremendous undertaking, both financially and logistically. To that end, Rep. Phillips-Hill has teamed with Democrat state Rep. Pam Snyder from southwestern Pennsylvania to author a four-bill package of legislation designed to address the problem from a number of angles.

They are focusing on evaluating existing assets and promises already made by non-rural telecommunications carriers, efforts that would bring down the price tag of this massive project.
Three of the four bills are moving right now. I urge you to monitor the progress of House Resolutions 429, 430 and 431, as well as House Bill 1642, at www.legis.state.pa.us.

Here in the 193rd Legislative District, South Mountain, a large area in both Adams and Cumberland counties, has extremely limited access to broadband. Businesses in this area need broadband if they are to grow and flourish.

President Donald Trump is pushing for a national infrastructure overhaul. The $1.5 trillion price tag and the “sideshow” that surrounds the president - some of his own creation - are muting the effort to shore up crumbling roads and bridges, improve mass transit and secure transmission lines. How do we accomplish this task before a bridge collapse similar to the one in Minnesota 11 years ago happens again with a higher body count?

Pennsylvania’s broadband problem is also a national crisis. Federal, state and local governments must find a way to work across party lines to find solutions. This is not a partisan problem. Technology is passing us by and we are sitting still. It is time to move and play catch-up.


Representative Will Tallman
193rd District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact: Scott Little
717.260.6137
slittle@pahousegop.com
RepWillTallman.com / Facebook.com/RepTallman


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