Attorney General Fox Urges Congress to Fund Expanded Broadband Access
Attorney General Tim Fox has joined 38 attorneys general in urging Congress to help ensure 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.
“After weeks of learning, working, socializing, and seeking healthcare from home during the pandemic, we know internet access is critical for basic needs,” Attorney General Tim Fox said. “While we appreciate the 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. We need a national solution,” Fox added.
Because of this widespread support, the bipartisan National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG) adopted this position as official policy, a strong show of support for expanded broadband throughout the country. Fox, who is also President of NAAG, emphasized that unless Congress acts quickly, disparities in access to home internet connectivity will exacerbate existing gaps in educational and health outcomes along lines of geography, economic resources, and race.
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.
With public health experts warning that a second wave of coronavirus infections may require teleschooling and telemedicine to continue for millions of Americans throughout 2020, it is critical that Congress act now to help ensure all Americans have the home internet connectivity they need to access educational opportunities, healthcare, and work.