House Members Seek Permanent Broadband Aid in COVID-19 Bill

A couple dozen House members have asked the bipartisan leadership of the House and Senate to make COVID-19-related funding for temporary internet access programs available for "permanent solutions." 

The CARES Act allocated $150 billion for state and local governments to respond to the crisis, including for internet access programs during the pandemic. 

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But the legislators, in a letter to their leadership, said:  "We believe it is necessary to give states flexibility to invest in permanent broadband solutions. This common sense fix will enable states to more efficiently expand internet connectivity across the country, directly meeting the immediate needs caused by the continued COVID-19 health emergency," they said. 

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Currently, the $150 billion can only be spent on "COVID-19-related costs that were not accounted for in the most recent budget of the unit of government, and were incurred between March 1, 2020, and Dec. 30, 2020." 

They are asking that the next COVID-19 relief bill provide for that flexibility, as well as additional time to spend the money on broadband.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.