Today, Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), co-chair of the Senate Broadband Caucus, introduced the “Accessible, Affordable Internet for All Act” to invest $100 billion to close the digital divide. The bill is the senate companion to Rep. James Clyburn’s (D-SC) bill of the same name. Public Knowledge commends Sen. Klobuchar, Rep. Clyburn, and the House Rural Broadband Task Force for working to provide broadband access to all Americans.
The following can be attributed to Jenna Leventoff, Senior Policy Counsel:
“In today’s world, the approximately 42 million Americans on the wrong side of the digital divide find themselves unable to participate in necessary activities, including working, learning, accessing medical care, and connecting with loved ones. This bill, along with its House companion, would help fix this problem by taking a comprehensive approach to getting and keeping Americans connected. It will not only provide funding for broadband deployment, but also ensure that broadband access is affordable, and that individuals have the devices and skills they need to access it.
“We are also pleased to see additions from the House companion legislation that promote connectivity for postsecondary students. By allowing postsecondary students receiving Pell grants to receive broadband subsidies, and supporting emergency connectivity during the COVID-19 pandemic for students in need, we are decreasing the risk of millions of college students and workforce training participants falling behind in their coursework, and being unable to find a good job in the future.
“Moreover, we are pleased that this legislation would require studies about Lifeline enrollment and advertising. Despite being the only currently existing broadband subsidy for low-income Americans, the Lifeline program is chronically undersubscribed. This study would help ensure that needy individuals can get the help they need to afford communications services. We urge the Senate to pass this important legislation.”