A bill providing $5.5 billion to connect Americans to broadband during the COVID-19 public health emergency was introduced in the House of Representatives this week.
The introduction of H.R. 6800, the Heroes Act, was applauded by Communications and Technology Subcommittee Chairman Mike Doyle (PA-18) and Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr. (NJ-6).
“COVID-19 has demonstrated just how urgently we need to bridge the digital divide. As students take their classes online and millions of Americans who are out of work turn to the internet for resources, we cannot let the cost of internet service be a barrier,” said Congressman Doyle.
The COVID-19 pandemic has made clear not only how critically important internet access is, but also how devastating it can be for the many consumers on the wrong side of the digital divide. As more and more workers are laid-off and schools plan for distance learning going into the upcoming academic year, Chairmen Pallone and Doyle believe Congress must take immediate steps to connect all Americans. This legislation would:
“WISPA appreciates the scope of the HEROES Act, especially as it pertains to keeping families hit hardest by the pandemic online, connected and safe,” according to a statement released by the association. “We signed the FCC’s Keep Americans Connected pledge, as well as its extension, and the support noted in the Act will go far to ensure all Americans remain connected through the duration of the pandemic.
“We look forward to working with the FCC in implementing the Act, creating a flexible and sufficient framework which helps keep small ISPs on the frontlines of this battle as they support those who call for their service.”