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Charter, NCTA Emphasize Ongoing Educational Connectivity Efforts

A family looking at multiple screens
(Image credit: Getty Images)

As the House Energy & Commerce Committee, under the direction of chairman Frank Pallone (D-N.J.), prepares to mark up the latest COVID-19 relief package Thursday (Feb. 11) and its $7 billion plus for schools and libraries broadband, cable operators want to point out that they have already been investing in low-cost or even free connectivity for students and teachers.

Also Read: COVID-19 Aid Bill Includes $7 Billion-Plus for E-Rate

That came in statements using language like "continue" and "intensify" to suggest that the money, while needed, was not a "square one" investment, as it were.

“Charter applauds the work of chairman Pallone and members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee to help schools and students struggling to participate in virtual learning by advancing legislation that will increase connectivity to reliable, in-home broadband," said the company in response to the markup announcement Wednesday (Feb. 10).

But the company points out that Congress will be joining the ongoing industry effort to connect low incomes residents as well as students and teachers. "Over the last year, Charter has helped hundreds of thousands of Americans get and stay connected through our Remote Education Offer that provided two free months of internet to student and teacher households, as well as other programs, including our low-cost offerings, Spectrum Internet Assist and Stay Connected K-12. We look forward to continuing to work with Congress to help bring the benefits of broadband to those who need it most.”

Also Read: Rep. Clyburn Re-Introducing $100B Broadband Bill

NCTA-the Internet & Television Association made that point for the industry in general in a statement on the markup.

“As the country continues to respond to challenges brought on by the pandemic, we welcome the efforts of chairman Pallone and members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee to advance legislation that will promote home broadband adoption and help schools that remain closed fulfill their educational mission through remote learning," it said. "Over the past several months, the cable industry has redoubled its own efforts to keep Americans connected, expanding our existing adoption programs and striking innovative new partnerships with school districts and other organizations to identify unconnected families and bring them online. With added resources, we look forward to seeing such collaborative efforts intensify so we can shrink the homework gap, help teachers and students stay connected, and bring the benefits of broadband to new families across America.”