From PSU Extension:
No other issue touches so many aspects of local government — from economic development, to community planning, to expanding educational opportunities and building government transparency and engaging residents and other stakeholders in community decision-making.
In response to COVID-19, schools have closed, and non-essential government employees have been instructed to work from home. These necessary changes in daily life require a necessary service – reliable broadband connectivity and access.
The ability of local governments to conduct business in compliance with state statutes that require the physical presence of the governing body and land development applicants, the general public, and other interested parties — in person — was recently hampered by public health officials discouraging such face-to face contact. For a while, in-person meetings were prohibited altogether by the Commonwealth during the COVID-19 pandemic. This prohibition caused a real challenge for public meetings, but was somewhat remedied when Governor Wolf signed Act 15 of 2020 allowing local governments and respective agencies to conduct hearings, meetings, proceedings, or other business by using an “authorized telecommunications device” until the expiration or termination of the COVID-19 disaster emergency. According to Act 15, this device at a minimum must permit two-way audio communication between all individuals…