[NA-Discuss] Digital Equity Act in US

Joly MacFie joly.nyc at gmail.com
Sat Apr 13 00:42:22 UTC 2019

As Glenn well knows, since he was there, at Net Inclusion there was lengthy
session with the forgers of this bill


On Thu, Apr 11, 2019 at 3:22 PM Glenn McKnight <mcknight.glenn at gmail.com>

> United States Senate
> For Immediate Release
> Thursday, April 11th, 2019
> Contact:
> Michael J. Brewer <michael_brewer at murray.senate.gov>(Murray)
> *Senator Murray, Senate Democrats Introduce New Legislation to Tackle
> Nationwide Digital Equity Gap*
> *Led by Senator Murray, Senate Democrats introduced the *Digital Equity
> Act of 2019*to help close the digital divide impacting communities across
> the nation*
> *The *Digital Equity Act* builds on recent efforts to increase access to
> broadband by prioritizing “digital inclusion”—activities that seek to
> provide individuals and communities with the skills, supports, and
> technologies necessary to take full advantage of a broadband internet
> connection when they have one*
> *Legislation creates two new $125M grant programs aimed at
> promoting#DigitalEquityNow
> <https://twitter.com/PattyMurray/status/1116385656652095488> and supporting
> digital inclusion programs for students, families, and workers*
> *Pew Research Center**: “Nearly one-in-five teens can’t always finish
> their homework because of the digital divide” – MORE HERE
> <https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2018/10/26/nearly-one-in-five-teens-cant-always-finish-their-homework-because-of-the-digital-divide/>*
> *Learn more from Senator Murray’s new Medium Post: *“*Why We Need the
> Digital Equity Act*” – LINK
> <https://medium.com/@PattyMurray/why-we-need-the-digital-equity-act-bce13eed8345>
> *WASHINGTON, D.C. –* Led by U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), the top
> Democrat on the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP)
> Committee, today a group of Senate Democrats introduced new legislation
> aimed at closing the growing digital divide in communities across the
> country. The *Digital Equity Act of 2019
> <https://www.murray.senate.gov/public/_cache/files/90396474-445b-427f-bc4d-547031680f1f/ehf19276.pdf>*
>  creates new federal investments targeted toward a diverse array of
> projects at the state and local level that promote “digital equity”— a
> concept defined by the National Digital Inclusion Alliance as the
> “condition in which all individuals and communities have the information
> technology capacity needed for full participation in our society, democracy
> and economy.” The legislation was cosponsored by Senators Mazie Hirono
> (D-HI), Angus King (I-ME), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN),
> Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Tina Smith (D-MN), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Gary
> Peters (D-MI), and Jack Reed (D-RI), and a companion bill will also be
> introduced in the House of Representatives.
> *“For so many of us, having a reliable broadband connection is a given—we
> use the internet to pay bills, do our taxes, book travel, do homework, and
> much more. We can do it on our own time, in our own homes—even from our
> phones. But for far too many individuals and families—including those from
> communities of color, people with disabilities, low-income households, and
> rural communities—getting online isn’t so easy to do, and I strongly
> believe that in 2019, we shouldn’t be a country of haves and have-nots when
> it comes to using the internet,” **said* *Senator Murray.** “That’s why
> I’m proud to join with my Democratic colleagues to introduce the **Digital
> Equity Act**, which will direct significant new federal investments to
> help ensure people in our communities have the tools, support, and
> technologies necessary to take full advantage of a broadband connection
> when they have access to one. Congress can and should help states,
> counties, tribes, and others do more to close the growing digital divide,
> and the **Digital Equity Act** is a major step in the right direction.
> It’s the right thing to do for families, and it’s the right thing to do for
> our economy to make sure everyone is reaching their full potential.”*
> *“The internet impacts every aspect of our day-to-day lives, from
> conducting business to pursuing an education to connecting with friends and
> loved ones. Put simply: it is the most important tool for anyone trying to
> participate in 21st century life,”* said Senator King. *“And it’s not
> enough to simply have access to the internet; you also need to know how to
> use it. By making these investments in digital equity and digital
> inclusion, we can ensure Americans of all ages and backgrounds are fluent
> in the technology that will drive so much of our nation’s future.”*
> *“The Internet is a powerful tool that has become instrumental in economic
> and social mobility and civic engagement. In 2009, Hawaii capitalized on
> funds made available under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to
> expand broadband to schools and public computer centers, making it one of
> the most-connected states in the country. But physical infrastructure is
> only part of the equation,”* said Senator Hirono. *“The Digital Equity
> Act will provide grants for things like digital literacy and digital skills
> education to low-income populations and improving the online accessibility
> of social services for individuals with disabilities that will allow the
> people of Hawaii to make full use of what broadband has to offer. Only then
> can they fully participate in our society, democracy, and economy.”*
> *“More and more, we rely on the internet to help us participate in our
> democracy and take part in the global economy. Expanding access to the
> digital world will help combat inequality, increase transparency in our
> institutions, and help citizens hold their government accountable. That’s
> why I’m pleased to support the Digital Equity Act,”* said Senator
> Whitehouse.
> *“As we rely more on technology in our everyday lives, we have to make
> sure that every family has access to broadband, regardless of their zip
> code. This legislation will help close the digital divide and bring
> high-speed internet to communities across the county,”* said Senator
> Klobuchar.
> *“Access to broadband internet service is literally transformative. With
> broadband, students can access vast educational resources, families remain
> connected, citizens engage their representatives, and businesses reach new
> customers,”* said Senator Blumenthal. *“For far too long, the digital
> divide has left behind those overlooked and underserved communities that
> would benefit most from broadband. Our bill would invest much-needed
> resources in our broadband infrastructure – spurring growth and
> development, and helping to level the playing field for all Americans.”*
> *“Broadband is the infrastructure of the 21st Century—it isn’t just nice,
> it’s necessary if we’re going to build an economy that works for
> everyone,” *said Senator Smith. *“This bill represents a positive step
> forward in that direction, ensuring that traditionally overlooked
> communities are not left behind in our efforts to provide affordable and
> reliable internet service to all Minnesotans and other Americans.”*
> *“From students completing homework to people of all ages applying online
> for jobs, broadband internet plays a crucial role in a community’s growth
> and economy. Expanding access to broadband will help create more
> opportunity for Marylanders, and will move our state forward on closing the
> digital divide. I’m proud to join my colleagues in introducing this
> common-sense legislation, and I will continue working to expand economic
> opportunity for all,” *said Senator Van Hollen.
> According to the Pew Research Center
> <https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2018/10/26/nearly-one-in-five-teens-cant-always-finish-their-homework-because-of-the-digital-divide/>,
> nearly one in five teenagers in the U.S. say they have been unable to
> complete homework assignments due to lack of a reliable internet
> connection. The digital divide, also sometimes referred to as the “homework
> gap” as it applies to students, exacerbates existing wealth and income gaps
> in our communities; subsequently, many people—including those from
> communities of color, people with disabilities, low-income households, and
> rural communities, overwhelmingly impacted by the digital skills gap—are at
> risk of being left behind in an increasingly technology-driven world,
> absent intervention. To that end, the *Digital Equity Act of 2019* strengthens
> federal support for efforts to help ensure students, families, and workers
> have the information technology capacity needed to fully participate in
> society by creating an annual $125 million formula grant program for all 50
> States, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico to fund the creation and
> implementation of comprehensive digital equity plans in each State, as well
> as an additional annual $125 million competitive grant program to support
> digital equity projects undertaken by individual groups, coalitions, or
> communities of interest. Finally, the legislation tasks the National
> Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) with evaluating
> digital equity projects and providing policymakers at the local, state, and
> federal levels with detailed information about which projects are most
> effective.
> *“I believe the future belongs to the connected. No matter who you are or
> where you live in this country, you need access to modern communications to
> have a fair shot at 21st century success. But today millions of American
> lack the broadband access that they need to meaningfully participate in the
> digital age. That means too many students fall into the Homework Gap,
> unable to complete school assignments that require high-speed internet
> service. It means that too many small businesses will not have the work
> force with the skills necessary to compete in the global economy. It means
> that too many communities will go without the civic and commercial
> infrastructure that is needed to thrive and grow. So thank you to Senator
> Murray for this legislation which thoughtfully addresses digital equity and
> seeks to expand technology opportunity for all,”** said Federal
> Communications Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel. *
> *“Local and state leadership drive most efforts to bring people online
> with affordable Internet access and training.  On the one hand, this is
> fabulous because trusted community relationships are essential to effective
> digital inclusion work. On the other hand, financial support of local
> digital inclusion work is sorely lacking. The Digital Equity Act recognizes
> the value of local trusted institutions while allocating financial support.
> NDIA and our 350 affiliates in 41 states fully support the Digital Equity
> Act and look forward to its passage,”** said National Digital Inclusion
> Alliance Executive Director Angela Siefer. *
> The *Digital Equity Act of 2019* is endorsed by: Alliance for Community
> Media, American Library Association, Asian Americans Advancing Justice,
> Association of Public and Land-grant Universities, Broadband Connects
> America, Center for Law and Social Policy, Center for Media Justice, Chief
> Officers of State Library Agencies, Coalition on Adult Basic Education,
> Common Cause, Consortium for School Networking, Competitive Carriers
> Association, Free Press Action Fund, International Society for Technology
> in Education, National Association of Telecommunications Officers and
> Advisors, National Coalition for Literacy, National Collaborative for
> Digital Equity, National Congress of American Indians, National Consumer
> Law Center on behalf of their low-income clients, National Digital
> Inclusion Alliance, National Hispanic Media Coalition, National League of
> Cities, National Parent Teacher Association, New America's Open Technology
> Institute, Next Century Cities, NTEN, Public Knowledge, Schools, Health &
> Libraries Broadband Coalition, State Educational Technology Directors
> Association, and the Urban Libraries Council.
> *Read the bill text HERE
> <https://www.murray.senate.gov/public/_cache/files/90396474-445b-427f-bc4d-547031680f1f/ehf19276.pdf>. *
> *Find more background on the Digital Equity Act HERE
> <https://www.murray.senate.gov/public/_cache/files/66a6378c-3c13-48d4-8e9d-a44c7460ec99/041019-digital-equity-act-one-pager-final.pdf>. *
> *Find a section-by-section breakdown of the Digital Equity Act **HERE
> <https://www.murray.senate.gov/public/_cache/files/fbdd7683-bf18-4454-82c8-33a83145c1b1/041019-digital-equity-act-section-by-section-final.pdf>.*
> Glenn McKnight
> NARALO Secretariat
> mcknight.glenn at gmail.com
> http://toronto.ieee.ca/
> IEEE Toronto SIGHT Chair
> glenn.mcknight at ieee.org
> skype  gmcknight
> twitter gmcknight
> 289-830 6259
> .
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Joly MacFie  218 565 9365 Skype:punkcast
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