Accurate Data and Technology Neutral Approach Critical to Maximizing Resources Aimed at Bridging America’s Digital Divide
February 2, 2022
Contact: Jon Conradi
Washington, D.C. – Connect Americans Now (CAN) executive director Richard T. Cullen released the following statement today following a Tuesday hearing before the U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies on “Expanding Broadband Access: Department of Commerce Broadband Programs in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.” During the hearing, U.S. Department of Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo highlighted her department’s commitment to providing states and broadband providers flexibility in the implementation of broadband programs established by the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.
“Connect Americans Now (CAN) commends Secretary Raimondo for rightfully highlighting the importance of ensuring states have the accurate data and flexibility they need to most cost-effectively and rapidly deploy broadband service to completely eliminate the digital divide,” Cullen said. “In particular, a technology neutral approach that allows broadband providers to connect the greatest number of people as quickly as possible by leveraging the technology best suited for a given area will be critical to ensuring no unserved Americans are left behind.”
During the hearing, Secretary Raimondo said, “Our goal at the Commerce Department is to make certain that at the end of our work every single household, small business, farm, family and student in America has access to affordable, reliable high-speed broadband, and we’re focused on getting this done right and giving states the flexibility they need to ensure that this benefits everyone in their state… If I deliver no other message today, I want to be clear, we do not have a one size fits all approach because I don’t believe that would be successful… The mission here as explicitly laid out in the statute is to prioritize unserved. At the end of this shame on us, on me, if there’s anyone unserved left.”
On Wednesday, CAN filed public comments, co-signed by 36 organizations, with the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) at the Department of Commerce on the implementation of broadband programs authorized by the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. Read the full letter HERE.
Founded in 2017, Connect Americans Now (CAN) is a broad-based coalition representing leading voices in agriculture, education, health care, veterans’ issues, technology, small business and more — committed to urgent action to completely eliminate the digital divide in every American community.
Learn more about Connect Americans Now HERE.