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Today, Senator Murray (D-WA) introduced the “Digital Equity Act of 2019” to help close the digital divide by improving digital inclusion among groups that have historically lacked broadband access. The bill would enable these communities to access the technologies and digital literacy programs essential to using broadband internet today.
The bill funds grant programs to support and build digital inclusion by assisting communities that want to access affordable broadband and improve their digital skills. Public Knowledge commends Sen. Murray for acknowledging the importance of broadband access and digital literacy in shaping America’s future, and looks forward to Representative Jerry McNerney’s (D-CA) companion bill.
The following can be attributed to Alisa Valentin, Communications Justice Fellow at Public Knowledge:
“We applaud Sen. Murray's introduction of the Digital Equity Act. It's an important step towards ensuring that all Americans can participate in the digital age, including those most impacted by the digital divide such as people of color and low-income communities. This bill is a reminder that as much as our minds have been focused on bringing infrastructure to rural communities, we must not forget that barriers to adoption also include access to affordable broadband, access to affordable devices, and digital literacy skills.
“The state capacity and competitive grant programs within the Digital Equity Act provide necessary pathways for states and local communities to create and sustain digital inclusion programs that best serve the needs of their respective communities. Federal legislation like this serves the purpose of giving communities the resources they need to empower themselves with access to the digital tools necessary to compete in a 21st century economy.”