Press Release Rural Broadband Access

Public Knowledge Joins 121 Consumer, Industry Groups Urging Congress to Pass a Device Voucher Program

September 17, 2021

Today, Public Knowledge joined 121 other public interest, consumer, education, and civil rights advocacy groups, as well as industry, in a letter urging the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation to include a device voucher program within the budget reconciliation package to connect more low-income families. The groups argue that a device voucher program that helps low-income consumers purchase a computer or tablet will enable more people to participate in our modern, online society. 

The following is an excerpt from the letter:

“Without a computer or tablet, more than 11% of consumers across the country can’t connect to the internet — despite Congress’ significant investments in deploying affordable broadband across the nation. Computers and tablets enable people to apply for jobs, fill out government forms, and successfully complete schoolwork. These tasks are difficult or impossible to do online with just a mobile device or no device. This is why Congress must include a program to give low-income consumers device vouchers in the budget reconciliation package. 

“The unfortunate reality is that most low-income consumers, including many senior citizens, students, and workers, can’t afford to spend hundreds of dollars for a computer or tablet. Thirty-one percent of non-broadband users cite the cost of a computer as one of the reasons they do not have broadband at home.

“To remedy this problem, Congress must pass a device voucher program that provides a broad array of low-income consumers with a voucher they can use to purchase a high-quality new or refurbished computer or tablet.”

You may view the letter for more information. View our latest factsheet to learn more about how Congress can help Americans afford computers and tablets to access the internet.