Meng Introduces $2 Billion Bill to Provide Internet Service to Students During COVID-19 Pandemic
Apr 21, 2020
Congresswoman’s legislation would help close digital divide
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-NY), a member of the powerful House Appropriations Committee that funds federal programs and agencies, today introduced the Emergency Educational Connections Act of 2020 to ensure that students have internet access during the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic emergency.
The Congresswoman’s legislation would create a special $2 billion Emergency Connectivity Fund at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to disburse funds to schools and libraries, and Tribal schools and libraries, to purchase Wi-Fi hotspots, modems, routers, and internet-connected devices for students and patrons.
“COVID-19 has forced over 55 million students to stay home during this national health crisis and adjust to a new future that requires internet access and a computer to continue their studies,” said Meng. “Before this crisis occurred, students without internet access at home were part of the so called ‘homework gap’ and struggled to keep up with their peers who have internet access at home. Today, with schools across the country having moved learning entirely online, including class meetings, explanations of new content, virtual field trips, homework, and learning exercises, this gap seems more like a chasm. Students without internet service will fall further behind as students with internet service at home can continue advancing in their studies. Whether they live in urban centers, suburbs, or exurbs, or small communities in rural America, all students require internet connectivity to succeed during this pandemic. I urge my colleagues to support my bill and ensure it is included in the next coronavirus relief package.”