Bipartisan Support for Swift Congressional Action to Close the Broadband Gap
Lawmakers, on both sides of the aisle, are highlighting the urgency for Congressional action to provide the resources necessary to rapidly and completely eliminate the digital divide.
The COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the many challenges of the digital divide. Now, ever swift action to bring connectivity to unserved and underserved Americans is more urgent than ever before. Students starting school in the fall risk falling behind without proper internet access for remote learning or homework, small businesses can struggle to reach, serve and expand their customer base, people continuing to work from home are trying to meet the demands of teleworking, and patients may be unable to access critical telehealth solutions.
Here are what U.S. Senators from around the nation are saying about the urgency for action to address the broadband gap and the need for funding to fully eliminate the digital divide in America:
“Access to broadband, as I just noted, has become more critical now than ever, as schools and workplaces are closed in an effort to limit the spread of the coronavirus, where teachers, many with preexisting conditions, simply cannot put themselves at risk, and where we know, going forward, we will continue to have a substantial number of kids learning remotely.”
“All South Carolinians should be able to utilize the educational, telehealth, and business benefits of accessible and affordable broadband. There is bipartisan support for expanding broadband access and our legislation dramatically improves access in rural and underserved areas.”
“…We must build on the $2 billion the CARES Act included for various broadband technology investments and allocate funds in this next coronavirus package to make access to broadband more affordable in every zip code … It’s my job at the federal level to get Nevadans the resources and tools they need as local districts decide what’s best for their communities as we move forward.”
“Too many South Carolinians lack access to the global economy, telehealth, and educational tools due to the lack of broadband technology…It is critical that we continue to find pathways to increase connectivity for all Americans to ensure that they are equipped with the tools necessary to thrive.”
“Before this crisis, we saw that broadband access was a precondition to full participation in the digital economy. But with this crisis we’ve seen that it’s more than that: it’s the enabling technology for remote education, tele-work, and tele-medicine; it’s the means by which Americans apply for and access critical government benefits; and it provides us with the ability to stay close with loved ones we can no longer be in direct contact with.”
“Closing the digital divide remains a top priority for the Commerce Committee … too many minority communities remain unconnected.”
“Affordable, high-speed broadband is essential to full participation in modern American life, allowing people to telework, learn remotely, and access telemedicine. However, millions of Americans still lack access – disproportionately from our rural areas, low-income neighborhoods, and communities of color.”
“I have long advocated for telehealth services, and the outbreak of COVID-19 has made clear how important telehealth is for keeping Nebraskans safe and healthy.”
“Online access is a lifeblood for families right now – connecting them with loved ones, employment resources their children’s teachers, even remote healthcare providers. We should be taking every precaution to ensure that workers who have been laid off or furloughed are able to stay connected when they need access to those resources most.”
“We cannot allow the COVID-19 pandemic to increase the digital divide that continues to plague our nation. Whether it’s to help our schools, businesses, and healthcare providers operate remotely, or making sure people stay connected, reliable broadband connectivity is as important as ever.”
“If a school cannot safely reopen in person, they need the resources to ensure every student and educator has access to a computer, to internet, and to other equipment necessary to learn outside of a traditional classroom.”