Today Congresswoman Annie Kuster (NH-02) and Congressman Chris Pappas (NH-01) hosted a webinar with Acting Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel on the FCC’s Emergency Broadband assistance for Granite Staters struggling to afford internet services during COVID-19. They were also joined by Eduard Bartholme, the Associate Bureau Chief of Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau at the FCC.
In the end of year COVID package, Congress appropriated $3.2 billion to subsidize high-speed internet for low-income families as we became more dependent on remote work, learning, and healthcare services. This webinar helped educate Granite Staters on the FCC Broadband Benefit Program and how New Hampshire families can take advantage of it.
“Throughout the past year, I have heard from countless Granite Staters — especially those living in rural areas of the state — about the need to expand broadband and the additional challenges they have faced during the COVID-19 pandemic due to unreliable or inadequate internet connections,” said Rep. Kuster. “Fast-speed internet is crucial, and for families with school-age children trying to adapt to online learning, employees working from home, and patients seeking care through telehealth appointments, the public health crisis has made broadband absolutely essential. The FCC’s Emergency Broadband Benefit will help those most in need access the tools and resources necessary to learn, work, and thrive. I was proud to support the legislation that made this program possible, and I look forward to seeing its benefits for Granite Staters as we continue our efforts to close the digital divide.”
“Access to high-speed internet has been essential to remain connected and competitive, but this pandemic highlighted a growing digital divide as people adjusted the way we work, learn, and interact,” said Congressman Pappas. “A reliable internet connection is a necessity, not a luxury. I am so glad Congresswoman Kuster and I were able to work with FCC Acting Chairwoman Rosenworcel to raise awareness for the broadband assistance program that will help connect so many Granite Staters in an affordable way for the duration of this pandemic and beyond.”
“It’s clearer than ever that internet access is no longer a nice-to-have, but a need-to-have. It’s why I’m excited to work with Congressman Chris Pappas and Congresswoman Annie Kuster to spread the word about the largest broadband affordability program in our country’s history. Starting tomorrow, New Hampshire families will be able to get the help they need getting connected and hopefully start breathing a little easier knowing that they don’t have to make the choice between broadband and groceries,” said FCC Acting Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel.
The Emergency Broadband Benefit opens on Wednesday, May 12, 2021 and will provide a discount of up to $50 per month towards broadband service for eligible households. Eligible households can also receive a one-time discount of up to $100 to purchase a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet from participating providers.
A member of the House Rural Broadband Task Force and Energy and Commerce Committee, Rep. Kuster is a vocal advocate in Congress to expand access to high-speed broadband for rural communities in New Hampshire and across the country. This year, Kuster helped introduce H.R. 1783, the Accessible, Affordable Internet for All Act, which authorizes over $94 billion to ensure unserved and underserved communities have affordable high-speed internet access.