NEW BETHLEHEM – In light of the pandemic and the greater need to work and conduct school from home, New Bethlehem Mayor Gordon Barrows said this week that he is supporting a state House measure that would improve internet connectivity.

“Although the ongoing COVID-19 crisis has impacted our lives in countless ways, it’s also given many of us an opportunity to slow down, reflect and adjust to a simpler way of doing life,” Barrows said. “Those who are fortunate enough to work from home are doing so because technology allows them to remain productive and connected. Students who have access to the internet are able to stay engaged through various e-learning platforms and devices. Yet, for those who have unreliable coverage or inadequate capacity, we are confronted by a stark reality — mobile coverage and access to technology has quickly become a necessity, not a luxury.”

Barrows said that in may ways, telecommunications capabilities have become our fourth utility.

“Think about it — telecommunications employees are still at work,” he said. “They have become life-sustaining for many of us, and it’s time for our state and federal officials to recognize it too.”

Greater investments in rural broadband, a streamlined process to deploy small cell technology, and a bipartisan willingness to support policies that result in improved connectivity is more important now than it has ever been before, Barrows said.

“Swift action by our state and federal officials to enact such policies should be prioritized,” he said.

The mayor, who also operates a technology-based business in New Bethlehem, added that “technology continues to evolve and change the way we live, work, recreate and educate, laying the groundwork for Pennsylvania to invest in groundbreaking technologies. Our commonwealth and communities have the potential to benefit from improved healthcare, transportation, education, public safety and industry — including manufacturing, mining, construction and much more.”

“This is why I am supporting Pennsylvania House Bill 1400 — the Small Wireless Facilities Deployment Act,” Barrows said. “The bill would create a legislative framework to ensure Pennsylvania is equipped with the infrastructure needed to improve internet connectivity and provide our communities with access to 5G technology.”

“As mayor of New Bethlehem, I am committed to providing responsive, innovative and results-driven solutions to support business, community and personal growth within the borough while maintaining the small-town appeal and family-friendly environment that makes the New Bethlehem area and Redbank Valley community such a great place to work, live and raise a family,” he concluded.

To learn more, visit the Pennsylvania Partnership for 5G at PAPartnershipFor5G.com.

Recommended for you