Common Cause Commends Whip Clyburn, House Rural Broadband Task Force, and House Democrats on Comprehensive Broadband Bill

Today, House Majority Whip Clyburn and the House Rural Broadband Task Force along with leadership in the House Energy and Commerce Committee  introduced the “Accessible, Affordable, Internet for All Act.” The comprehensive legislation provides $80 billion of funding for broadband deployment while enabling affordable options for broadband adoption, creating digital equity programs, enhancing data collection regarding the price and quality of broadband networks, and protecting community broadband.

Statement of Michael Copps, Common Cause Special Adviser and Former FCC Commissioner

“We commend Majority Whip Clyburn, the House Rural Broadband Task Force, and leadership in the House Energy and Commerce for introducing a comprehensive bill to ensure everyone is connected to affordable, high-speed, quality broadband. The legislation addresses all aspects of the digital divide by including provisions that would provide robust broadband access to communities that lack it, enable affordable options to connect low-income communities , and create digital equity programs to stem out long-standing disparities in broadband connectivity.

“For too long, we have talked about getting broadband out to everyone but are nowhere near getting the job done. Broadband remains unaffordable for millions of families; students lack connectivity at home to complete their homework, while millions more live in areas without any broadband access at all. The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed many of the gaps in broadband connectivity we face today. Americans without broadband are unable to telework, engage in remote learning, access telehealth services, or stay in touch with their loved ones.

“Our democracy depends on everyone having access to robust and affordable broadband in order to participate in a 21st century society. Broadband is the connective tool that facilitates free expression, civic engagement, access to news and information, and host of essential services. Without broadband millions of Americans are being left behind in the digital age. We thank Majority Whip Clyburn and key House members and look forward to working with all members of Congress in ensuring this legislation is enacted to close the digital divide.”