Cortez Masto Co-Leads Bill to Patch Gaps in Internet Access and Literacy in Nevada Through Investment and Transparency
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) joined U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) in cosponsoring legislation to address the significant broadband gaps in the U.S. by providing a robust investment in infrastructure, training and oversight. The Accessible, Affordable Internet for All Act would invest $100 billion in broadband across the nation.
“As the coronavirus pandemic has made more apparent than ever, in the 21st century, every family in the country needs reliable access to broadband. The worlds of information that the internet opens are key to education, health, small business, and other essential parts of our communities across Nevada. I’ve been working on connecting more Nevadans to reliable, quality internet since coming to the U.S. Senate, and so I’m especially glad to see this comprehensive legislation to support those who need access in rural and urban areas alike.”
Senator Cortez Masto has pushed for expanded broadband for underserved rural and urban communities as part of her Innovation State Initiative by working on various bills, including introducing the bipartisan Connected Rural Schools and ACCESS BROADBAND Acts, as well as co-leading on legislation to make it easier for schools to put Wi-Fi technology on buses. These bills will help Nevada’s schools and libraries, local governments, and small businesses access federal programs while also mandating the transparency and oversight needed to ensure we’re spending federal funds wisely. Many of these provisions are included in the broader Accessible, Affordable Internet for All Act.
The Accessible, Affordable Internet for All Act would do the following:
- Encourage universal broadband access by:
- including $80 billion to deploy high-speed broadband infrastructure nationwide;
- allocating $5 billion for low-interest financing of broadband deployment through a new secured loan program; and
- establishing a new office within the National Telecommunications and Information Administration to ensure efficient use of federal money (as outlined in the ACCESS BROADBAND Act).
- Ensure internet affordability by:
- requiring an affordable option for internet service plans offered on the newly-built infrastructure;
- providing a $50 monthly discount on plans for low-income consumers; and
- directing the FCC to collect and publicize data on prices charged for broadband service throughout the country.
- Promote internet adoption by:
- providing over $1 billion to establish grant programs for states to close gaps in broadband adoption, as well as digital inclusion projects for organizations and local communities to implement;
- including $5 billion to enable students without internet at home to participate in remote learning;
- providing over $680 million in grants for the planning and implementation to programs to expand digital equity and skills online; and
- authorizing funding for Wi-Fi on school buses so students can stay connected, especially in rural areas where longer bus rides are common.
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