U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin
Press Release

Baldwin, Colleagues Introduce Bill to Sustain Rural Broadband Connectivity during Coronavirus Pandemic

The Keeping Critical Connections Act would appropriate $2 billion for the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to help small broadband companies provide critical internet connectivity for students and their families during the coronavirus pandemic

By - Mar 24th, 2020 11:48 am

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Kevin Cramer (R-ND), along with Tina Smith (D-MN), Dan Sullivan (R-AK), Steve Daines (R-MT), Doug Jones (D-AL), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Jon Tester (D-MT), John Barrasso (R-WY), Pat Roberts (R-KS), Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Todd Young (R-IN), and Gary Peters (D-MI), introduced the bipartisan Keeping Critical Connections Act to help small broadband providers ensure rural broadband connectivity for students and their families during the coronavirus pandemic.

“Reliable high-speed broadband is necessary for helping our small businesses and rural communities get through the coronavirus pandemic,”said Senator Baldwin. “This legislation will help ensure that families and students in Wisconsin have access to broadband during this public health emergency—no matter where they live.”

“Access to high speed internet is critical for students and their families during the coronavirus outbreak,”said Senator Klobuchar. “The Keeping Critical Connections Act would help small broadband providers continue offering free or discounted broadband services to families and students in rural areas to ensure they remain connected to school, work, and their communities during this period of economic turmoil caused by the coronavirus pandemic.”

“The federal government asked this essential industry to keep providing assistance to people during COVID—19, and they answered the call,”said Senator Cramer. “The least we can do is make sure they are made whole when this pandemic is over.”

TheKeeping Critical Connections Act would appropriate $2 billion for a Keeping Critical Connections fund at the FCC under which small broadband providers with fewer than 250,000 customers could be compensated for broadband services—if they provided free or discounted broadband services or upgrades—during the pandemic for low-income families who could not afford to pay their bills or provided distance learning capability for students.

The bill is endorsed by NTCA—the Rural Broadband Association, WTA – Advocates for Rural Broadband, Wireless Internet Service Providers Association (WISPA), the Minnesota Telecommunications Alliance, and the Broadband Association of North Dakota (BAND).

An online version of this release is available here.

More about the Coronavirus Pandemic

Recent Press Releases by U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin

Baldwin, Colleagues Call for Inspector General Audit of OSHA’s Inadequate Enforcement Amid Growing Worker Illnesses and Deaths During COVID-19 Pandemic

Despite Heightened Risk for Workers, Agency Has Drastically Reduced Investigation and Enforcement Activities During Crisis

Senator Baldwin and Representatives Kind, Moore and Pocan Call on President Trump to Extend Federal Funding for Wisconsin National Guard in Fight Against COVID-19 Pandemic

"An extension of this funding is critical to ensuring the safety and health of our citizens, as well as advancing efforts to reopen our state."

Leave a Reply

You must be an Urban Milwaukee member to leave a comment. Membership, which includes a host of perks, including an ad-free website, tickets to marquee events like Summerfest, the Wisconsin State Fair and the Florentine Opera, a better photo browser and access to members-only, behind-the-scenes tours, starts at $9/month. Learn more.

Join now and cancel anytime.

If you are an existing member, sign-in to leave a comment.

Have questions? Need to report an error? Contact Us