Today, Public Knowledge and TURN filed comments with the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) in response to the agency’s request for comment on the implementation of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.
Public Knowledge and TURN sought to guide NTIA in the successful distribution of nearly $45 billion for broadband deployment and digital equity initiatives. President Biden has challenged us to “build for tomorrow”. Public Knowledge and TURN encourage NTIA to achieve this goal by ensuring that these funds result in affordable, reliable and open networks. The groups also hope the money will provide people with devices as well as the digital literacy skills to use them.
The following can be attributed to Jenna Leventoff, Senior Policy Counsel at Public Knowledge:
“This funding represents an incredible opportunity to bridge the digital divide in our country. We urge the NTIA to advocate for consumer needs by aligning its work with the broadband work of other federal agencies. We also need NTIA to prioritize the deployment of open-access, scalable municipal networks that adhere to net neutrality principles; are deployed in a non-discriminatory manner; and which are dependable on a day-to-day basis and resilient in the face of disasters and emergencies.
“To ensure broadband is affordable for everyone, NTIA must also make the mandatory low-cost option widely available and aligned with the Federal Communications Commission’s Affordable Connectivity Program. Finally, NTIA must recognize that availability and affordability are not enough to bridge the digital divide. The NTIA must also allow and encourage states to use IIJA funds to provide device voucher programs and digital literacy training programs, because the Internet only allows people who have the resources needed to use it.
Members of the media can contact Director of Communications Shiva Stella with questions, interview requests, or to join Public Knowledge’s press list at [email protected] or 405-249-9435.