Sens Manchin, Cornyn Introduce ACCESS the Internet Act to Expand Hotspots for Education, Telehealth Amid COVID-19 Pandemic
Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV) and John Cornyn (R-TX) introduced the bipartisan Accelerating Connected Care and Education Support Services on the Internet (ACCESS the Internet) Act to expand reliable broadband access for education and telehealth appointments for rural America during the COVID-19 pandemic. The ACCESS the Internet Act provides funding for the Education Stabilization Fund, hotspots through libraries, and telehealth services through the Federal Communications Commission and US Dept of Veterans Affairs.
The ACCESS the Internet Act authorizes $2 billion in dedicated funding including:
- $1.3 billion for the Department of Education, including a 20% set aside for rural school districts to ensure they have the funding they need for distance learning
- $200 million for the Institute for Museum & Library Services (IMLS), including a minimum allotment of $1.6 million per State to allow States, Tribes, and Territories to purchase and distribute Internet-connected devices to libraries in low-income and rural areas, building on the HOTSPOTS Act introduced by Sens Manchin and Susan Collins (R-ME).
- $400 million for the FCC COVID-19 Telehealth Program, including a 20% set aside for small, rural providers that may have been left out of the competitive first round of telehealth funding
- $100 million for the VA Telehealth and Connected Care Services for the provision of Internet-connected devices and services for veterans in rural, unserved areas.
Manchin, Cornyn Bill to Expand HOtspots for Education, Telehealth Amid COVID-19 Pandemic ACCESS the Internet Act One-Pager ACCESS the Internet Act to enable libraries to lessen broadband gap in rural and low-income communities (ALA)