Digital Equity

The COVID-19 pandemic has increasingly shifted many parts of personal and professional life online, calling further attention to issues of digital equity, which has emerged as a key priority for the Coalition. As broadband is regularly used for school, work and telehealth services, affordable high-speed internet is essential for healthcare access as well as the day-to-day functions of life. Yet, estimates show that more than 30 million Americans, the majority of whom live on Tribal lands or in other rural areas, do not have access to broadband infrastructure that delivers reliable service. The Coalition highlights policies that work to close this digital divide, especially as the pandemic continues to affect life across the country.

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Broadband Justice Act

H.R. 1904 - Representative Jamaal Bowman (D-NY)

  • Introduced on 3/16/21

  • 34 Co-Sponsors as of 9/13/22

Description

The bill would: 

  • Update utility allowance definitions in the Housing and Urban Development, Agriculture and Treasury Departments to include broadband as a subsidized utility, recognizing broadband as an essential 21st Century need 

  • Renovate American subsidized housing infrastructure by retrofitting units with the necessary wiring for high-quality broadband by providing operational funds

  • Create a flexible grant program to support wiring buildings, assistance, and other resident support related to installation and utilization of broadband

Status

  • The bill remains under consideration by the Committees on Financial Services and Ways and Means

Contact

Computer and Internet Equity Act

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H.R. 2201 - Representative Danny Davis (D-IL)

  • Introduced on 3/26/21

  • 2 Co-Sponsors as of 9/13/22

S. 1023 - Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL)

  • Introduced on 3/25/21

  • 1 Co-Sponsor as of 9/13/22

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National Broadband Plan for the Future Act

H.R. 870 - Representative Anna Eshoo (D-CA)

  • Introduced on 2/5/21

  • 8 Co-Sponsors as of 9/13/22

S. 279 - Senator Ed Markey (D-MA)

  • Introduced on 2/22/21

  • No Co-Sponsors as of 9/13/22

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Description

The bill would: 

  • Update utility allowance definitions in the Housing and Urban Development, Agriculture and Treasury Departments to include broadband as a subsidized utility, recognizing broadband as an essential 21st Century need 

  • Renovate American subsidized housing infrastructure by retrofitting units with the necessary wiring for high-quality broadband by providing operational funds

  • Create a flexible grant program to support wiring buildings, assistance, and other resident support related to installation and utilization of broadband

Status

  • The bill remains under consideration by the Committees on Financial Services and Ways and Means

Contact

Description

The bill would: 

  • Work to achieve digital equity by requiring the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) provide to Congress an updated National Broadband Plan informed by a new report on accessibility and affordability during COVID-19

  • Require the FCC to develop and share strategies outlining how connectivity can be used to advance racial justice and socioeconomic equity in health care and education

Status

  • The bills remain under consideration by the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Communications and Technology and the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation

Contact