Sinema Urges Administration to Disburse COVID-19 Funds to Boost Rural Broadband

Jun 26, 2020

WASHINGTON – Arizona senior Senator Kyrsten Sinema urged the administration to disburse unspent COVID-19 relief funds to boost rural broadband access in Arizona.
“Congress approved federal funds to boost broadband access in rural Arizona. The administration needs to quickly disburse these resources to support rural Arizona families during the coronavirus crisis and into the future,” said Sinema.
Sinema’s letter stresses that Congress recognized the urgent need for broadband access in rural Arizona by designating an additional $100 million of CARES Act funds for the ReConnect Program, which equips rural Arizona with grants and loans to facilitate the investment in new broadband infrastructure. The U.S. Department of Agriculture, however, has only spent a fraction of these federal funds, which are desperately needed for rural Arizona communities.
Click HERE for Sinema’s letter.
During a Senate Commerce Committee hearing, Sinema called for continued expansion of broadband across Arizona during the coronavirus pandemic. Sinema indicated that 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.
Sinema recently 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,, for Arizonans looking for the latest information on coronavirus.