Solutions Passed by the House Will Support Access to Digital Devices and Digital Resources for More Americans
November 19, 2021
Contact: Jon Conradi
Washington, D.C. – Connect Americans Now (CAN) executive director Richard T. Cullen released the following statement Friday on the U.S. House passage of broadband and digital equity provisions in the Build Back Better Act.
“Connect Americans Now commends lawmakers in the U.S. House for building on the positive momentum for action by advancing additional solutions to help bridge the digital divide,” said Cullen. “As this legislation moves to the U.S. Senate, CAN encourages lawmakers to maintain their commitment to greater digital equity and focus on additional solutions to permanently ensure every American can access affordable and reliable broadband and the devices and skills needed to succeed in the 21st century economy and classroom.”
The Build Back Better Act (H.R. 5376) passed by the U.S. House on Friday allocates $475 million for the Connected Device Grant Program and $300 million for the Emergency Connectivity Fund. According to the legislative text, the Connected Device Grant program will provide “connected devices for free or at a low cost to an eligible household.” According to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), “the Emergency Connectivity Fund is a program that will help schools and libraries provide tools and services their communities need for remote learning during the COVID-19 emergency period.”
The legislation also commits $285 million for grants to fund public-private partnerships that will bring affordable broadband service to historically underserved communities, including communities of color and low- and middle-income Americans. To ensure as many people as possible can find available broadband service, the House has also allocated $100 million “to conduct outreach and provide education to the public regarding the broadband and communications affordability programs of the Federal Communications Commission to raise awareness about the programs and help consumers access the programs.”
Founded in 2017, Connect Americans Now (CAN) is a broad-based coalition of more than 300 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 Connect Americans Now and solutions to permanently bridge the digital divide HERE.