Connect Americans Now (CAN) Applauds Vice President Harris for Highlighting the Administration’s Commitment to Expanding Broadband Access

Policymakers Can Capitalize on Historic Opportunity to Eliminate the Digital Divide by Ensuring Federal Programs Follow a Mixed-Technology Approach

Press Release
March 21, 2022
Contact: Jon Conradi
[email protected]

Washington, D.C. – Connect Americans Now (CAN) executive director Richard T. Cullen released the following statement Monday following a visit by Vice President Kamala Harris to Sunset, Louisiana to tour a library and discuss efforts to bridge the digital divide with local residents as well as local, state and federal leaders.

“Connect Americans Now (CAN) applauds Vice President Harris for highlighting the Administration’s commitment to ensuring people in every American community have access to an affordable, reliable broadband internet connection and the digital devices and skills necessary for success in the 21st Century economy and classroom,” Cullen said. “President Biden and Congress have created a historic opportunity to permanently eliminate the digital divide and achieve greater digital equity through resources made available by the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.”

“Lawmakers and the Administration must now maximize the positive impact of these investments by ensuring federal broadband programs follow a mixed-technology approach that connects as many unserved and underserved communities as possible, as quickly as possible,” Cullen continued.

Highlights from Vice President Harris’ Remarks on Broadband in Sunset, LA

“President Biden and I — well we’ve been working day-in and day-out to build an economy that works for working people. An economy in which every person has what they need to get ahead and to thrive. High-speed broadband internet is critical to that effort. In the 21st century, high speed internet is a necessity. Full stop. It is a necessity. … And, yet, by one estimate, more than 42 million people in our country do not have high speed internet. Far too many of our fellow Americans simply cannot afford the cost of a high-speed internet plan. And too many others do not even have access to such a plan. …”

“And that is why, through the bipartisan infrastructure law, we invested $65 billion to expand and modernize our nation’s broadband infrastructure,” Harris continued. “Thanks to this law, one in four American households is eligible to receive a discount on their monthly internet bill of $30 per month, or $75 per month for those living on tribal lands. So far, with this discount, we have helped lower the cost of living for more than ten million households. And more are signing up every day. …”

“… When we connect families and workers, students and small business owners, patients and health professionals, including mental health professionals, with high-speed internet, we connect folks to opportunity. This is what so much of our administration’s work comes down to — fighting to make sure every person, no matter where they start, no matter how much money they have in the bank account, that they have the opportunity to succeed, to achieve their God-given potential, in particular when it comes to our children.”

The urgency for action to permanently eliminate the digital divide in every American community, regardless of zip code, is greater than ever before. Federal agencies have a historic opportunity to make substantial progress toward that national mission through the implementation of programs recently authorized by Congress in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act to expand access to an affordable, reliable broadband connection and digital skills. Congress must ensure those agencies follow the statues of the law and implement the funding and resources using a mixed-technology approach to connect as many Americans as possible as quickly as possible.

Listen to the Vice President’s full remarks HERE.

Connect Americans Now (CAN) is a broad-based coalition of more than 300 companies and organizations representing leading voices in agriculture, education, health care, veterans’ issues, technology and small business — committed to urgent action to completely eliminate the digital divide in every American community.

Learn more about how a mixed-technology approach can maximize the positive impact of federal broadband programs HERE.

Learn more about Connect Americans Now and the coalition’s mission HERE.


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