WASHINGTON, D.C. (WEHT) — Senator Todd Young (R-Ind.) joined a group of senators Monday on a bipartisan, bicameral letter urging Senate and House leaders to include dedicated funding to help small broadband providers sustain internet services and upgrades for students and low-income families in any future legislation in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Last month, Senator Young introduced the Keeping Critical Connections Act to help small broadband companies provide critical internet services and upgrades for students and their families during the coronavirus pandemic. The bill would appropriate $2 billion for a Keeping Critical Connections fund at the Federal Communications Commission under which small broadband providers with fewer than 250,000 customers could be compensated for broadband services—if they provided free or discounted broadband services or upgrades—during the pandemic for their customers that were low-income families who were unable to pay their bills or provided distance learning capability for students.
Part of the letter read:
“Small providers—which contribute to more than 77,000 jobs and support more than $10 billion in economic activity in the United States— may be unable to sustain services if customers are unable to pay for a prolonged period of time, jeopardizing broadband connectivity for customers all across this country. Without action from Congress, small providers may be unable to continue to help ensure that the communities they serve can access distance learning and telehealth services.”
You can read the full letter here.
(This story was originally published on April 6, 2020)