Eliminating the Digital Divide
The arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic reinforced what we already knew: Texas communities were underserved and in desperate need of high-speed internet access. As the demand for online learning has become the new norm, offices have implemented remote work policies, and medical professionals now conduct a larger amount of appointments via teleservices, continuing to leave educational and professional services in the 20th Century is not an option.
In order to collectively rebound from the pandemic, it is vital that households receive the most up-to-date information and businesses adapt to a changing economic environment driven by curbside services, primarily online operations, and ever changing public health guidelines.
Texans in Burnet County recently told me that one of their most pressing needs is greater access to high-speed internet, and they’re not alone. We’ve heard stories across our communities of students not having access to internet when they leave school and are forced to use parking lots with hotspots to do their homework. And in some instances, teachers have had to deliver hand-printed packets so students can receive learning materials.
That’s why I introduced the Eliminate the Digital Divide Act to expand internet access for all Texans in need. The bill authorizes a $10 billion State Broadband Program that empowers states to direct federal dollars to unserved and low-income areas so they can carry out individual broadband networks and receive low-cost broadband services that best fit their needs.
As the dependence of digital communication increases in almost every aspect of our lives, we cannot leave millions of Texans in the dark without internet access. It is crucial that we pass this legislation to begin closing a chasm that has divided our nation for far too long.
In God we trust,
Member of Congress