Nebraska Attorney General Doug Peterson has joined 38 attorneys general in urging Congress to help ensure that all Americans have the home internet connectivity necessary to participate in telemedicine, teleschooling, and telework as part of any additional legislation that provides relief and recovery resources related to addressing the COVID-19 pandemic.
As U.S. residents know after weeks of learning, working, socializing, and seeking healthcare from home during COVID-19, internet access is critically important.
While the attorneys general laud independent efforts of various companies to increase access by waiving late fees or even providing free or discounted access to students and medical providers, such efforts are not sustainable. Ultimately, the attorneys general contend we need a national solution.
Unless Congress acts quickly, disparities in access to home internet connectivity will continue to exist.
In a letter sent to Congressional leaders, the attorneys general urge Congress to:
- Provide state, territorial, and local governments with adequate funding expressly dedicated to ensuring that all students and patients, especially senior citizens who are at risk, have adequate internet-enabled technology to participate equally in online learning and telemedicine.
- Increase funding to the U.S. Federal Communication Commission Universal Service Fund, which provides vital funding to rural and low-income populations, healthcare providers, and educators with the goal of bridging the digital divide.
It is important that Congress act now to help ensure that all Americans have the home internet connectivity they need to access educational opportunities, healthcare, and to earn a livelihood.