May 12, 2020
Today, House Democrats introduced the Heroes Act, a comprehensive bill that would address many urgent issues relating to the COVID-19 pandemic, including internet connectivity. Among other things, the bill prohibits internet service providers from terminating service to customers during the pandemic and establishes a new “Emergency Broadband Connectivity Fund” that would subsidize internet access for eligible Americans and fund new equipment to help connect K-12 students to remote learning. For the past two months, OTI has urged Congress to pass legislation to help people get online and stay connected during the pandemic.
The following quote can be attributed to Joshua Stager, senior counsel at New America’s Open Technology Institute:
“Millions of Americans lack access to the internet during this pandemic, and that is its own public health crisis. People cannot realistically comply with shelter-in-place orders if they don’t have home access to online services. From remote learning to teleworking to telemedicine to grocery shopping, virtually every aspect of daily life now requires internet connectivity.
“Closing the digital divide must be a core element of the federal government’s COVID-19 response, and the Heroes Act is a vital first step. This legislation provides the connectivity stimulus that we’ve needed for months. We look forward to working with Congress on this critically important effort.”