Attorney General Ashley Moody announced Friday she was joining a bipartisan coalition of attorneys general who are urging Congress to fund expanded access to broadband internet.
“With many studying, working and seeking health care from home during COVID-19, internet access is more important than ever before,” Moody said. “Congress must act and must act now to help ensure Americans living in rural parts of our country can participate in school, work and other activities vital to our everyday lives.”
In a letter to Congress, the coalition of 38 attorneys general called for several changes including an increase in funding to the U.S. Federal Communication Commission Universal Service Fund and additional funding for state and local governments to ensure students and senior citizens have adequate internet-enabled technology.
The FCC Universal Service Fund is a budget devoted to bridging the digital divide in rural and low-income areas.
In the announcement, Moody’s office said the issue has been adopted by the National Association of Attorneys General.
The letter to Congress arrives as millions of Americans grow increasingly dependent on internet-enabled technology amid the COVID-19 pandemic shutdowns. From working to learning and even seeking healthcare, the internet has become the primary means of access to goods and services, healthcare providers, and schools for many Americans.
“In many cases, individuals were able to compensate by moving online to learn, work, and obtain healthcare services,” the letter addressed to Congressional leaders said. “In other cases, however, longstanding disparities in household access to high-speed internet and mobile devices prevented individuals from taking advantage of these opportunities.”