Congressman Marc Veasey (TX-33) To Introduce Legislation to Bolster Broadband Access for Low Income, Minority Groups During Pandemic
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congressman Marc Veasey (TX-33) announced he will introduce legislation that will bolster access to broadband for low-income and minority individuals that are facing unprecedented challenges during the spread of the Coronavirus pandemic. The Veasey-led legislation will provide free or low cost internet service to low-income individuals or those who have recently been laid off or furloughed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Key provisions of the legislation are included in the Heroes Act—a bold and comprehensive coronavirus response bill that will meet the challenge this pandemic poses to our nation—this legislation will be voted on later this week.
“With work, school, and healthcare—not to mention basic communication between friends and families—now taking place primarily online, it is more important than ever that all Americans have access to a fast, reliable internet connection. The spread of the Coronavirus pandemic has exacerbated the barriers that low-income and minority individuals already face when trying to access critically-needed broadband services,” said Congressman Marc Veasey (TX-33). “I am proud to introduce this legislation that will help overcome these barriers by ensuring our nation’s broadband and wireless providers can provide this critically important service at no or low cost to individuals.”
The legislation will also provide devices such as laptop or desktop computers or tablets to eligible households to ensure these families have the devices they need to look for a job, complete online homework assignments, or receive telehealth service. For individuals already benefitting from the Lifeline program, the bill will require that service providers provide an unlimited number of minutes and amount of data to their current plans for the duration of the pandemic. Finally, it will provide funding to states to facilitate the linking of their SNAP databases with the FCC’s National Lifeline Verifier database, which will allow recipients of that program to automatically qualify for Lifeline.