Connect Americans Now (CAN) Joined by 46 Organizations in Calling for Congress to Address the Digital Divide in COVID-19 Relief Package

Press Release
August 4, 2020
Contact: Jon Conradi
jon@connectamericansnow.com

Washington, D.C. – Connect Americans Now (CAN) sent a letter Tuesday to Congressional leaders, co-signed by 46 organizations, calling on lawmakers to provide funding to eliminate the digital divide for all Americans as part of the next COVID-19 relief package. The letter, addressed to U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), encourages Congress to support urgently needed solutions to expand broadband connectivity.

“For the millions of Americans who lack access to a broadband connection, the pandemic has exacerbated the many challenges associated with the digital divide,” the letter states. “Students without broadband at home can be denied access to the full potential of remote learning, patients may be unable to access telehealth solutions that can keep them healthy and allow them to avoid strained facilities, farmers and ranchers can be placed at a competitive disadvantage in a global market, small businesses can face steep hurdles to adapting their business to reach and serve customers remotely and workers can struggle to telework. These Americans, in both rural and urban communities, cannot wait five years for access to broadband internet.”

“As Congress continues to address the COVID-19 pandemic, CAN and the 46 organizations co-signed on this letter ask you to provide urgently needed funding to rapidly and cost effectively expand broadband access,” the letter continues. “The dedication of adequate resources to completely eliminate the digital divide, guided by key principles, is of the utmost urgency for the wellbeing and prosperity of millions of Americans.”

The letter encourages Congress to follow certain guiding principles in allocating resources, including maintain a technology neutral focus on rapid deployment, targeting particular challenges like remote learning, minimizing cost through a competitive bidding process and reducing regulatory hurdles and market distortions.

Read the full letter HERE.

The full list of co-signers on the CAN letter include:

American Telemedicine Association
American Hemp Ventures
Association of Oregon Counties
Association of Oregon Faculties
BroadbandNow
Chehalem Valley (Oregon) Innovation Accelerator
Crawford County (Wisconsin) Communications Cooperative
College Possible
Connected Nation
Consortium for School Networking (CoSN)
Corteva
Greater Eastern Oregon Development Corporation
Greater Grenada Area (Mississippi) Chamber of Commerce
Marias River (Montana) Livestock Association
Mississippi Hospitality & Restaurant Association
Montana Rural Education Association
National Grange of the Order of Patrons of Husbandry
National Rural Education Association
National Veteran Small Business Coalition
Nevada Farm Bureau Federation
North Clackamas (Oregon) Chamber of Commerce
Northern Wasco County (Oregon) PUD
Oregon Association of Nurseries
Oregon Cattlemen’s Association
Oregon Dairy Farmers Association
Oregon Economic Development Association
Oregon Farm Bureau Federation
Oregon Hop Growers Association
Oregon State Chamber of Commerce
Oregon State Grange
Oregon Water Resources Congress
Oregon Women for Agriculture
Purdue University Center for Regional Development
Schools, Health and Libraries Broadband Coalition (SHLB)
South Dakota Farm Bureau Federation
Student Veterans of America
Technology Association of Oregon
Teleco Systems
Telehealth Alliance of Oregon
Thomas County (Kansas) Economic Development Alliance
Tillamook Bay Community College
Washington State Farm Bureau Federation
Wisconsin Corn Growers Association
Wisconsin Independent Businesses
Wisconsin Potato & Vegetable Growers Association
Wisconsin Technology Council

Connect Americans Now (CAN) is a coalition of organizations and companies representing voices for agriculture, health care, education, small business, technology, veterans, rural advocacy and more — committed to completely and swiftly eliminating the digital divide in America by supporting a mixed-technology approach that leverages the full potential of every tool in the nation’s toolkit.

Learn more about CAN, the coalition and its mission HERE.