Foster Introduces Legislation To Close The Digital Divide
Washington, D.C. – Today, Congressman Bill Foster introduced the Closing the Digital Divide for Students Act, legislation that would help ensure more students have the opportunity to succeed in school by providing basic Internet access for low-income families.
Text of the legislation is available here.
Families who live in HUD-assisted housing currently receive financial assistance for utility bills, like electricity and gas. At this time, basic Internet access is not included. This bill would add basic Internet as a permitted utility for families with children qualifying for free or reduced lunch. Families would be required to use the least expensive Internet provider available, and would also need to pay for the installation and any equipment. Neither cable nor satellite television would be covered. Additionally, a protective filter would be included with the service that an adult in the household could regulate.
“Today, Internet access is as essential to students as textbooks, pencils or paper,” said Foster. “When low-income students don’t have reliable access to the Internet, they fall even further behind their peers. I’ve introduced this legislation so students from low-income families can have access to the educational tools they need to succeed and compete on an even playing field with their peers.”