Today, House Democrats announced “The Moving Forward Act,” a massive infrastructure bill funding broadband deployment as well as the building of roads, bridges, housing, rail, and clean energy services. The Act also enhances funding to help consumers pay for broadband, improves data collection about the price and resiliency of broadband, and addresses gaps in digital skills and device ownership. Notably, the Act not only authorizes funding, but also appropriates $100 billion specifically to help close the digital divide.
The Act follows a recent letter from Public Knowledge and 217 other public interest and industry groups urging Congress to include affordable broadband in future coronavirus stimulus packages. Public Knowledge commends House Democrats for going beyond the pandemic and funding broadband deployment and affordability options for the long term.
The following can be attributed to Jenna Leventoff, Senior Policy Counsel at Public Knowledge:
“We commend House Democrats for developing a comprehensive plan to close the digital divide. Currently, Americans experience a digital divide separating those who can take advantage of all the internet has to offer — from employment and education to Netflix and telemedicine — from those who are simply left behind.
“By including provisions about digital equity and broadband affordability as well as funding deployment, this legislation will not only ensure that all areas are served with high-quality broadband, but also that Americans can afford it while having the skills and devices they need to access it. This comprehensive approach, if enacted, would significantly narrow the digital divide.
“We look forward to additional legislation that will further support a competitive broadband marketplace. We thank House Democrats for recognizing the importance of broadband infrastructure, affordability, and digital equity for Americans everywhere, and urge Republicans to join with Democrats to enact this important legislation that benefits all constituents on a bipartisan basis.”
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