Attorney General Leevin Camacho has joined 38 other attorney generals in urging Congress to help ensure that consumers have the home internet connectivity necessary to participate in teleschooling, telework, and telemedicine.
In a letter sent to Congressional leaders, the AGs applauded the independent efforts of private companies to increase internet access by waiving late fees and providing free or discounted access to students and medical providers, but they maintain such efforts are not sustainable.
They argue there needs to be a national solution in the form of legislation.
“Unless Congress acts quickly,” states a release from Guam Attorney General Camacho, “disparities in access to internet connectivity will exacerbate existing gaps in educational and health outcomes along lines of economic resources.”
In their letter, the AGs urged Congress to provide state, territorial, and local governments with adequate funding dedicated to ensuring that all students, patients, and at-risk senior citizens all have adequate internet-enabled technology to participate equally in online learning and telemedicine.
They are also asking for increased funding to the U.S. Federal Communication Commission Universal Service Fund, which provides vital funding to rural and low-income populations, healthcare 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, the AGs say it’s critical that Congress act now to help ensure that all Americans have the home internet connectivity they need to access educational opportunities, healthcare, and to earn a livelihood.
The letter is signed by Attorney Generals from Colorado, Montana, Nebraska, North Carolina, 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.