Public Knowledge Welcomes Bill To Promote Digital Equity

New bill establishes a nonprofit foundation to help close the digital divide.

Today, Senators Ben Ray Luján (D-NM), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), and Ed Markey (D-MA) introduced the “Digital Equity Foundation Act” to establish a nonprofit foundation to help close the digital divide by leveraging public and private investments. Rep. Doris Matsui (D-CA) introduced a companion bill in the U.S. House.

To accomplish this, the bill would supplement the Federal Communications Commission and National Telecommunications and Information Administration’s work to award grants, provide training and education, and overall promote policies to enhance digital equity outcomes across the nation. It would also provide local funding to help connect those in danger of missing out on all the opportunities the internet provides, including telehealth, education, and career training. Public Knowledge applauds Sens. Luján, Merkley, Heinrich, and Markey as well as Rep. Matsui for championing those who need devices and training to participate in our digital world.

The following can be attributed to Greg Guice, Director of Government Affairs at Public Knowledge:

“Sen. Luján’s Digital Equity Foundation Act of 2022 addresses some of the most persistent barriers to broadband adoption, including digital literacy, digital skills training, and consumer access to devices like laptops and tablets. This bill would use a portion of funds raised through spectrum auctions to fund resources at the local level to support schoolchildren, older adults, and others who need devices and training so that all generations have the essential tools to fully participate in our society. We thank Sen. Luján for his leadership on this effort and look forward to making this bill a reality for the public.”