WASHINGTON, D.C. – Consumer Reports announced its support today for the Emergency Broadband Connections Act introduced by U.S. Senator Ron Wyden. Because of the ongoing crisis created by COVID-19 virus, families across the country are struggling financially and are more dependent than ever on the internet for essential online services for education, work, and healthcare. This piece of legislation will help households gain access to affordable broadband when it is needed most.
The proposed bill would create an Emergency Benefit for Broadband Service to provide free or low-cost broadband service to low-income families or those who have been recently laid off or furloughed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, enhance the FCC’s existing Lifeline subsidy program for qualified low-income Americans, and help the states improve the National Lifeline Eligibility Verifier.
Jon Schwantes, Senior Policy Counsel at Consumer Reports noted, “Consumer Reports strongly supports the Emergency Broadband Connections Act authored and introduced by Senator Wyden today. This bill represents a direct, meaningful and effective way to help our most vulnerable Americans affected by the COVID-19 pandemic stay connected to the internet.
“As millions of Americans have shifted to working, learning, and receiving medical care at home because of the pandemic, the necessity and value of a reliable, affordable internet connection have never been clearer. Many more consumers need better access to the internet that is also more affordable. Providing a direct subsidy to help consumers pay their monthly internet service bill is a straightforward solution and will help immediately.
“Today’s legislation contains real money and solutions that will begin to accomplish those twin goals. CR stands ready to help Congress pass this important and timely measure,” Schwantes said.
As Sen. Wyden introduces this bill in the Senate, Rep. James Clyburn recently introduced the Accessible, Affordable Internet for All Act in the House. This CR-endorsed bill also seeks to boost broadband in the time of the ongoing pandemic and beyond.
Cyrus Rassool, Cyrus Rassool