Press Release Tech Policy in the Pandemic Rural Broadband Access

Public Knowledge Applauds Senate Passage of COVID-19 Legislation To Help Connect Students Without Broadband at Home

March 6, 2021 , , , , ,

Today, the U.S. Senate passed the next round of desperately needed  COVID-19 relief. Among other provisions, the relief bill helps students access broadband — or stay connected — during the pandemic by providing additional funding for the E-rate program to cover for K-12 distance learning.

The legislation provides $7 billion in support for broadband connectivity to help students learn at home, which will ensure that children — particularly those who live in communities of color, low-income households, and rural areas — are not left behind in their educational needs and opportunities. 

This funding follows months of advocacy by a broad range of public interests groups, including Public Knowledge, in recognition of the fact that absent these funds, we risked having an entire generation of our children fall behind in their educational endeavors.

The following can be attributed to Greg Guice, Government Affairs Director at Public Knowledge:

“More than 12-16 million children have lacked internet access at home during the course of this pandemic, making virtual learning a near impossibility for them. This gap has left them vulnerable to falling behind. Public Knowledge is grateful for the champions that led the fight for the inclusion of E-rate funds in this relief bill, including Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA), Senate Commerce Chairwoman Maria Cantwell (D-WA), and House Energy and Commerce Leaders Frank Pallone (D-NJ) and Mike Doyle (D-PA). They, along with too many of their colleagues to name specifically, put the needs of our schoolchildren at the forefront and have succeeded in making a remarkable contribution to the welfare and educational well-being of those children. We look forward to the House passing this legislation next week and President Biden signing it into law, so these efforts begin providing their substantial benefits.”