Washington, D.C. – Connect Americans Now (CAN) sent a letter Monday to Congressional leaders, co-signed by 42 organizations, representing leaders in agriculture, education, digital and housing equity, health care, technology, veterans issues and more, highlighting the urgency for solutions to close the broadband gap and calling for lawmakers to swiftly pass the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and advance additional permanent solutions to permanently eliminate the digital divide.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically underscored the urgent national imperative of closing the broadband gap to ensure every American has access to an affordable and reliable broadband connection and the digital skills needed to unlock the full potential of modern technology,” the letter reads. “[The] digital divide threatens access to the full promise of the American Dream for too many communities — both urban and rural. The challenge is especially acute in income insecure communities where too many cannot afford broadband service or lack access to infrastructure and devices.”

“CAN and the co-signed organizations below commend the progress thus far in Congress to advance the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. This legislation represents an important first step in bringing affordable, reliable broadband and digital skills to every American — regardless of zip code,” the letter says. “While much more needs to be done to permanently close the broadband gap in every community, this legislation provides an essential $65 billion down payment toward bridging the digital divide through broadband deployment, adoption and digital skills training.”

“We encourage lawmakers in the House to work diligently to move the legislation to the president’s desk by the end of the month without further delay,” the letter says. “Congress must build on the positive momentum by advancing additional solutions to permanently bridge the digital divide… We encourage lawmakers, in both chambers, to use this opportunity to do more to secure digital equity by ensuring adequate financial support is available for every American household to afford broadband service and the devices needed to fully unlock the potential of digital technology — and to advance permanent solutions to ensure broadband service and digital skills are available in unserved and underserved communities.”

“Now more than ever, creating good jobs, lifting wages, reducing poverty, improving health outcomes and strengthening education depends on affordable, reliable broadband connectivity and access to digital devices and skills in every American community,” the letter reads. “We’re encouraged by the positive progress made to date and hope to see Congress capitalize on this unique opportunity to permanently bridge the digital divide and ensure every American has access to an affordable, reliable broadband connection and the devices and skills needed to participate in the 21st century digital economy.”

Read the full letter HERE.

The full list of co-signers on the CAN letter includes:

National Organizations

ACT | The App Association
American Seed Trade Association
American Telemedicine Association
College Possible
Connect Americans Now
Connected Nation
Consortium for School Networking (CoSN)
Council for Affordable and Rural Housing
National Cattlemen’s Beef Association
National Grange
National Rural Education Association
National Veteran Small Business Coalition
Progressive National Baptist Convention (PNBC)
Schools, Health & Libraries Broadband (SHLB) Coalition
Student Veterans of America
U.S. Canola Association

Regional, State & Local Organizations

Blue Mountain Networks
California Farm Bureau Federation
California Telehealth Network
Chehalem Valley Innovation Accelerator
Economic Development Partnership of Montgomery County
Greater Grenada Partnership
Mississippi Restaurant and Hospitality Association
Montana Rural Education Association
Nevada Farm Bureau Federation
Northwoods Association of REALTORS
Oregon Association of Nurseries
Oregon Cattlemen’s Association
Oregon Dairy Farmers Association
Oregon State Chamber of Commerce
Oregon Hop Commission
Oregon State Grange
Oregon Water Resources Congress
Thomas County Economic Development Alliance
Wisconsin Corn Growers Association
Wisconsin Potato and Vegetable Growers Association
Wisconsin Rural Schools Alliance

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