Public Knowledge Files Comments Urging NTIA To Put Consumers First When Applying New Infrastructure Funds

Public Knowledge submitted comments to the National Telecommunications Information Administration to guide disbursing broadband funds to help close the digital divide.

Today, Public Knowledge and TURN filed comments with the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) in response to the agency’s Request for Comment on the implementation of the “Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.” 

Public Knowledge and TURN sought to guide the NTIA in successfully distributing nearly $45 billion dollars for broadband deployment and digital equity initiatives. President Biden has challenged us to “build for tomorrow.” Public Knowledge and TURN encourage the NTIA to meet this goal by ensuring these funds result in affordable, reliable, and open networks. The groups also hope the money provides devices for people along with the digital literacy skills to use them.

The following can be attributed to Jenna Leventoff, Senior Policy Counsel at Public Knowledge:

“This funding marks an incredible opportunity to narrow our nation’s stark digital divide. We urge the NTIA to champion the needs of consumers by aligning their work with the broadband work of other federal agencies. We also need the NTIA to prioritize deploying future-proof, open access municipal networks that adhere to net neutrality principles; are deployed in a non-discriminatory manner; and which are reliable day-to-day and resilient in the face of disasters and emergencies.

“To ensure that broadband is affordable to all, the NTIA must also make the mandatory low-cost option broadly available and aligned with the Federal Communications Commission’s Affordable Connectivity Program. Finally, the NTIA must recognize that availability and affordability are not enough to close the digital divide. The NTIA must also allow and encourage states to use IIJA funds to offer device voucher programs and digital literacy training programs because the internet only empowers people who have the resources to use it.”