NHMC Urges Congress to Include the Device Access for Every American Act in the Final Budget Reconciliation Package

September 20, 2021

A Statement from Brenda Victoria Castillo, President & CEO of the National Hispanic Media Coalition (NHMC)

To give millions of households affordable access to connected devices, Congressman McEachin and Senator Warnock have introduced the urgently needed Device Access for Every American Act. Essential programs such as the Emergency Broadband Benefit program were created to close the digital divide by expanding quality, affordable, and equitable broadband services to low-income, Latinx, and BIPOC communities. However, affordable access to broadband services is only one piece of the puzzle to close the digital divide; connected devices, such as laptops and tablets, are another essential piece.

Yet, millions of households across the United States lack the access to these necessary devices. More than forty percent of low-income households don’t own a laptop or a desktop. Affordable devices are increasingly vital to our work, education, health care, and other daily activities that take place online. The COVID-19 pandemic continues to demonstrate an urgent need for accessible broadband and devices to function and participate in modern society. During the pandemic, Latinx families are using the internet at home for their children’s virtual learning, telecommuting for work, and using telehealth to see a doctor. Without devices to connect to the internet at home, our community will  remain at a disadvantage–consequently widening the digital divide.    

The Device Access for Every American Act would: 

  • Allocate $5 billion to implement the voucher program.
  • Authorize the FCC to administer the voucher program for connected devices. 
  • Permit up to two low-income individuals per household to receive a voucher, with each voucher valued at  up to $400.   
  • Direct the FCC to collaborate with retailers, provide technical assistance, and promote the device voucher program overall. 

To close the digital divide and build toward digital equity for the Latinx community, NHMC urges Congress to include the Device Access for Every American Act in the final budget reconciliation package. 

Yours in the Movement, 

Brenda Victoria Castillo
President & CEO
National Hispanic Media Coalition 

 

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