WASHINGTON — On Wednesday, Vice President Kamala Harris said “high-speed internet is a lifeline” and noted that “there is much more work to do to get every American online.” She stated that ensuring every person in the United States has affordable access to high-speed internet at home is a priority of the Biden administration.
The administration took a step in this direction by releasing $1 billion in federal funding to support an initiative to connect people on Tribal lands. “It is a downpayment on the work we must do,” Harris said. “We must keep going until we connect every American household.”
Harris made these remarks during a White House speech on the “Importance of Investing in Broadband to Ensure Affordable, Accessible High-Speed Internet for all Americans.” Harris also spoke in support of President Joe Biden’s $2.3-trillion infrastructure plan, unveiled nearly three months ago, which includes tens of billions of dollars in funding for broadband connectivity. Infrastructure bills introduced in the House align with these ambitions and would provide critical support for broadband affordability.
In May, Free Press released “Price Too High and Rising,” a comprehensive report on the skyrocketing cost of internet access in the United States and the role that high internet prices play in keeping tens of millions of people offline, especially Black, Latinx and Indigenous people.
Free Press Action Policy Manager Dana Floberg made the following statement:
“Vice President Harris laid out a powerful case for investing to bridge the digital divide — a disparity that has long harmed low-income families, communities of color and Indigenous communities in particular. Over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, the need for universal and affordable internet service has become even more painfully clear, as disconnected people have struggled to keep up with rising internet bills to connect safely to schools, doctors, work and even vaccination sign-up tools.
“Releasing this federal funding to support people on Tribal lands is a meaningful step forward, and the White House has a strong foundation for furthering that support for all communities in the Accessible Affordable Internet for All and LIFT America Acts that were introduced in the House.”