As co-chair of the Congressional High-Tech Caucus, and member of the Subcommittee on Communications and Technology, I am committed to providing greater access to technology for all Americans.
I have introduced several bills that stress the need for the increased accessibility and affordability of communication services. I recently reintroduced the Broadband Affordability Act, which would expand the Universal Service Fund ‘Lifeline Assistance’ Program for universal broadband adoption. Especially during these difficult economic times, many Americans cannot afford the cost associated with in-home broadband service. As a result, they are at a competitive disadvantage when it comes to employment, education, and other opportunities.
Income should not hinder the ability of hard-working American families to attain these services that have become so essential in our technologically-driven age -- my legislation aims to close this digital divide.
This proposal of mine was included in the Federal Communications Commission’s 2011 National Broadband Plan to increase broadband adoption rates among lower income households. This Plan recognizes that broadband plays a critical role in our nation’s education, infrastructure, health care, public safety systems, anchor institutions and economic competition.
Additionally, I have supported, and will continue to support, the Net Neutrality Rules put forward by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to ensure that the Internet remains open and free. I also worked to see that the FCC non-discrimination protections included services provided by our public institutions are not impeded. Educational institutions such as schools, libraries, community colleges are often the only avenue for free access to the Internet for the public. I will continue working to see that all Americans have access to affordable telecommunications services, and to close the digital divide we see in our country.