The companies who supply information technology said that to combat the COVID-19 pandemic the government needs to invest in IT upgrades across the board and at a level commensurate with the challenge of socially distanced living.
Tech trade associations Information Technology Industry Council (ITI), Alliance for Digital Innovation (ADI), the Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA), the Center for Procurement Advocacy, Internet Association (IA), and the Cybersecurity Coalition have teamed up on a set of IT modernization principles they are pitching the Congress and the Trump Administration in letters to House and Senate leadership and the Office of Management and Budget.
They signaled that the pandemic era of "remote collaboration" was the perfect time to make added investments in the IT technology their members supply "to ensure the United States is able to effectively respond to this crisis."
The Trump Administration has signaled that reopening the economy also means giving businesses, schools, teachers and students the equipment, connectivity and expertise to conduct more of their daily lives remotely and online.
They said that money should be spent at the federal, state and local level to:
1. "Provide adequate funds to modernize IT systems used by agencies working on the front lines of this pandemic and future emergency responses, with a key focus on cloud adoption, digital services, scalable IT infrastructure, and technology transformation;
2. "Ensure funds are made available to support to state and local government agencies in need of IT modernization and upgrades that, in turn, will enhance the speed and effect of relief efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent emergencies;
3. "Support the Technology Modernization Fund (TMF) at an appropriations level that would allow for meaningful investment in cross-agency IT modernization initiatives; and
4. "Ensure that IT modernization efforts include focused attention and investment on strengthening cybersecurity, workforce training, and process transformation.
They pointed out that the CARES Act COVID-19 aid package indicated that improving digital infrastructure was a critical priority, so spending on IT should match the scope of that challenge.
The CARES Act allocated over $300 million for FCC Telehealth programs, but the commission is seeking more money from subsequent bills for distance learning.
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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.