July 1, 2020
Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Moving Forward Act (H.R. 2), a sweeping infrastructure package that would make internet service more accessible and affordable. Among other things, the bill would:
- Create a $50 monthly broadband subsidy to help low-income people get online;
- Create a federal investment fund for broadband deployment;
- Give schools new tools to help students access the internet at home;
- Require ISPs to report data on the price of internet service;
- Require the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to promote a “broadband nutrition label” that clearly displays the price and terms of consumer internet contracts;
- Legalize municipal broadband networks in all 50 states;
- Enact a federal “Dig Once” policy to promote broadband deployment;
- Fund digital literacy and inclusion programs at the state and local level; and
- End the FCC’s regulatory war on the Lifeline program.
As a longstanding advocate for digital equity, OTI has repeatedly asked the FCC and Congress to enact many of these policies. Earlier today, Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) introduced a Senate companion bill that includes these broadband measures.
The following quote can be attributed to Joshua Stager, senior counsel for New America’s Open Technology Institute:
“Today’s vote is a historic victory for the millions of people who are suffering through the COVID-19 crisis without access to the internet. H.R. 2 is the biggest and boldest broadband infrastructure bill that Congress has ever passed. This legislation invests $100 billion to ensure that everyone in the United States can get online.
But this bill isn’t just about a dollar amount. It gives schools new tools to help students access the internet at home. It creates new digital literacy programs. It makes internet pricing transparent for the first time ever, so consumers know what they’re paying for. In short, this bill creates a broadband market that actually works for people.
We applaud the House for passing this long-overdue bill, and thank Congressman Clyburn for his leadership. The Senate should pass this bill without delay. Millions of people need this legislation.”