APA has joined the National Rural Health Association, the National Farmers Union, the Schools, Health and Libraries Broadband Coalition, and the Primary Care Collaborative in supporting new legislation introduced by Sens. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) and Angus King (I-Maine) to increase access to high-speed broadband. Tens of millions of Americans do not have access to affordable high-speed broadband, and people in rural areas, living in low-income neighborhoods, and communities of color are all disproportionately impacted by the digital divide. Broadband access is critically important during the COVID-19 pandemic, with school closures and home schooling, and the expanded use of telehealth services. Nationally, more than 8 million households with children do not have access to high-speed broadband, including one in three Black, Latino, and American Indian/Alaska Native households. The Broadband Reform and Investment to Drive Growth in the Economy (BRIDGE) Act (PDF, 50KB) would provide $30 billion in flexible funding to states and $1 billion to tribal governments to help connect unserved and underserved communities, hospitals, schools, libraries, and other anchor institutions to high-speed broadband. The bill also requires new networks deployed using grant funds to provide at least one discount subscription option for low-income customers.
For more information, contact Scott Barstow.