In key Senate hearing, Sinema called for increased broadband funding in future coronavirus relief packages
WASHINGTON – Arizona senior Senator Kyrsten Sinema spoke in a Senate Commerce Committee Hearing and highlighted the need to continue expanding broadband across Arizona during the coronavirus pandemic.
“Expanding broadband for rural, tribal, and urban communities is critical for families in Arizona during the coronavirus crisis and into the future. The next coronavirus relief package must continue to expand immediate broadband access for Arizonans,” said Sinema.
Additionally, Sinema said future coronavirus relief legislation must include a long-term plan to invest in broadband infrastructure, ensure we have the appropriate regulatory framework, develop better coverage maps, and utilize federal resources efficiently.
According to the FCC, over 20 million Americans lack access to quality internet at home, including as many as 12 million children. This includes tribal communities, where 36% of households lack access to broadband. Students without internet access at home consistently score lower in reading, math, and science. This existing inequity is being exacerbated during the current public health emergency as schools suspend in-person classes and transition to remote learning over the internet to protect the health of students, faculty, and staff. Recently, Sinema helped introduce the Emergency Educational Connections Act, legislation aimed at ensuring all Arizona K-12 students have adequate home internet connectivity and devices during the coronavirus pandemic. Sinema also cosponsored the bipartisan Keeping Critical Connections Act—legislation that helps small broadband companies provide critical connectivity for students and families to continue their education during the coronavirus pandemic.
Sinema has also added a resources page to her website, www.sinema.senate.gov/corona, for Arizonans looking for the latest information on coronavirus.