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Attorney General Josh Stein Leads 39-State Coalition Urging Congress to Increase Internet Access During COVID-19

For Immediate Release:
Thursday, May 21, 2020

(RALEIGH) Attorney General Josh Stein today, along with Montana Attorney General Tim Fox, Nebraska Attorney General Douglas Peterson, and Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser, led a 39-state coalition urging Congress to ensure that all Americans have the internet connectivity they need to participate in telemedicine, teleschooling, and telework as part of any additional COVID-19 relief and recovery legislation. Unless Congress acts quickly, disparities in home internet access will worsen existing gaps in educational and health outcomes based on geography, economic resources, and race.

“This pandemic has demonstrated that broadband is absolutely essential for people to work, study, and keep themselves and their loved ones safe and healthy at home,” said Attorney General Josh Stein. “Congress must provide the funds necessary to ensure that all people and places can reliably access the internet.”

In a letter sent to Congressional leaders, the attorneys general urge Congress to:

  • Provide state, territorial, and local governments with adequate funding expressly dedicated to ensuring that all students and patients, especially senior citizens who are at risk, have adequate internet-enabled technology to participate equally in online learning and telemedicine.
  • Increase funding to the U.S. Federal Communication Commission Universal Service Fund, which provides vital funding to rural and low-income populations, health care providers, and educators with the goal of bridging the digital divide.

With public health experts warning that a second wave of coronavirus infections may require teleschooling and telemedicine to continue for millions of Americans throughout 2020, it is critical that Congress act now to help ensure that all Americans have the home internet connectivity they need to access educational opportunities, health care, and earn a livelihood.

Earlier, Attorney General Stein led a coalition of 27 states urging the telecommunications industry to make further commitments to protect people’s internet, cable, and phone access from disconnection resulting from financial hardships created by the pandemic.

Attorneys General Stein is joined in sending today’s letter by the Attorneys General of Montana, Nebraska, Colorado, Alaska, American Samoa, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Guam Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.

A copy of the letter is available here.

More on Attorney General Stein’s work to protect North Carolinians during the COVID-19 pandemic:

Contact:
Laura Brewer (919) 716-6484

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