Connect Americans Now (CAN) Joined by 46 Organizations in Calling for Congress to Address the Digital Divide in COVID-19 Relief Package

Press Release
August 4, 2020
Contact: Jon Conradi
[email protected]

Groups Including American Telemedicine Association, National Grange and Student Veterans of America Ask Congressional Leaders to Provide Funding for Urgently Needed Broadband Access

Washington, D.C. – Connect Americans Now (CAN) sent a letter Tuesday to Congressional leaders, co-signed by 46 organizations, calling on lawmakers to provide funding to eliminate the digital divide for all Americans as part of the next COVID-19 relief package. The letter, addressed to U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), encourages Congress to support urgently needed solutions to expand broadband connectivity.

“For the millions of Americans who lack access to a broadband connection, the pandemic has exacerbated the many challenges associated with the digital divide,” the letter states. “Students without broadband at home can be denied access to the full potential of remote learning, patients may be unable to access telehealth solutions that can keep them healthy and allow them to avoid strained facilities, farmers and ranchers can be placed at a competitive disadvantage in a global market, small businesses can face steep hurdles to adapting their business to reach and serve customers remotely and workers can struggle to telework. These Americans, in both rural and urban communities, cannot wait five years for access to broadband internet.”

“As Congress continues to address the COVID-19 pandemic, CAN and the 46 organizations co-signed on this letter ask you to provide urgently needed funding to rapidly and cost effectively expand broadband access,” the letter continues. “The dedication of adequate resources to completely eliminate the digital divide, guided by key principles, is of the utmost urgency for the wellbeing and prosperity of millions of Americans.”

The letter encourages Congress to follow certain guiding principles in allocating resources, including maintain a technology neutral focus on rapid deployment, targeting particular challenges like remote learning, minimizing cost through a competitive bidding process and reducing regulatory hurdles and market distortions.

Read the full letter HERE.

The full list of co-signers on the CAN letter include:

American Telemedicine Association

American Hemp Ventures

Association of Oregon Counties

Association of Oregon Faculties


Chehalem Valley (Oregon) Innovation Accelerator

Crawford County (Wisconsin) Communications Cooperative

College Possible

Connected Nation

Consortium for School Networking (CoSN)


Greater Eastern Oregon Development Corporation

Greater Grenada Area (Mississippi) Chamber of Commerce

Marias River (Montana) Livestock Association

Mississippi Hospitality & Restaurant Association

Montana Rural Education Association

National Grange of the Order of Patrons of Husbandry

National Rural Education Association

National Veteran Small Business Coalition

Nevada Farm Bureau Federation

North Clackamas (Oregon) Chamber of Commerce

Northern Wasco County (Oregon) PUD

Oregon Association of Nurseries

Oregon Cattlemen’s Association

Oregon Dairy Farmers Association

Oregon Economic Development Association

Oregon Farm Bureau Federation

Oregon Hop Growers Association

Oregon State Chamber of Commerce

Oregon State Grange

Oregon Water Resources Congress

Oregon Women for Agriculture

Purdue University Center for Regional Development

Schools, Health and Libraries Broadband Coalition (SHLB)

South Dakota Farm Bureau Federation

Student Veterans of America

Technology Association of Oregon

Teleco Systems

Telehealth Alliance of Oregon

Thomas County (Kansas) Economic Development Alliance

Tillamook Bay Community College

Washington State Farm Bureau Federation

Wisconsin Corn Growers Association

Wisconsin Independent Businesses

Wisconsin Potato & Vegetable Growers Association 

Wisconsin Technology Council

Connect Americans Now (CAN) is a coalition of organizations and companies representing voices for agriculture, health care, education, small business, technology, veterans, rural advocacy and more — committed to completely and swiftly eliminating the digital divide in America by supporting a mixed-technology approach that leverages the full potential of every tool in the nation’s toolkit.

Learn more about CAN, the coalition and its mission HERE.


Join our fight to bring broadband to all rural Americans. Tell Washington to take action to bridge the digital divide now!