The COVID-19 pandemic has made something clear that CWA members have known for a long time: millions of families in the United States do not have access to affordable, reliable broadband internet connections.
In a letter sent this week, CWA President Chris Shelton, AFT President Randi Weingarten, and SEIU President Mary Kay Henry urged Congress to include affordable, universal access to broadband in legislation that addresses the coronavirus pandemic.
Frontline workers are keeping people connected, teaching our children, and providing healthcare and essential public services during this crisis. But technicians can't install high-speed internet service if fiber optic cable hasn't reached the neighborhood. Teachers can't keep children who cannot access online materials engaged and learning. Nurses can't provide telemedicine services to patients who lack broadband and who can't get a reliable cell phone connection.
Two of the leaders' recommendations are part of the HEROES Act, which was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives this week: more funding for the FCC's E-rate program, which helps schools and libraries obtain affordable broadband, and assistance covering the cost of broadband for low-income households. In many parts of the United States, however, high-speed broadband connections are not available at any price. By funding broadband expansion, Congress will create family-supporting jobs and provide millions of Americans with a gateway to jobs, education, healthcare, public safety, civic participation, and communications among friends and family.
Read the full letter here: https://cwa-union.org/sites/default/files/20200511-union-letter-on-broadband-covid.pdf.