Friday, May 27, 2022

Play

High gas prices are not slowing down Memorial Day travel, early voting starts tomorrow in Nevada, and Oregon activists seek accountability for dioxin contamination in low-income Eugene.

Play

Education Secretary Cardona calls for action in after the Texas massacre, Republicans block a domestic terrorism vote, and Secretary of State Blinken calls China the greatest challenger to the U.S. and its allies.

Play

High-speed internet is being used to entice remote workers to rural communities, Georgia is offering Black women participation in a guaranteed income initiative, and under-resourced students in Montana get a boost toward graduation.

Device Ownership Critical to Improving Rural Broadband

Play

Monday, January 3, 2022   

The now-stalled Build Back Better Act means $475 million in grant money is also stalled - money that would go to communities for laptops, tablets and other internet devices.

Groups working to improve rural broadband access in eastern Kentucky say getting more people online is essential to the region's economic recovery.

President of the Mountain Association Peter Hille said building the infrastructure to get communities connected to high-speed broadband is only one piece of the puzzle.

"In order for that to happen," said Hille, "they need to be able to have the devices that are able to connect to the internet, and they also need to be able to afford the internet service that's available to them."

The Build Back Better Act's Connected Device Program contained funding for community groups to purchase and distribute hardware to people who qualify, as well as subsidies for schools and libraries to help keep students and staff connected.

Although the legislation hit a dead-end last year in the U.S. Senate, lawmakers say the House-passed version of the bill could be pared down and revised until it gains the support needed to become law.

Hille pointed that out private companies stand to benefit from massive federal investments in broadband and other rural infrastructure.

"And I think that it should be incumbent upon those private-sector players who benefit from these public investments," said Hille, "to be sure that they are playing their part in making internet affordable, particularly to low-income households."

Natalie Roper - director of special projects at the Just Transition Fund - said under-resourced communities face numerous challenges in getting federal grants, and noted there are provisions in the bill aimed at addressing those gaps.

"Which really focuses on investing in critical local capacity for rural communities," said Roper, "to build out locally driven led solutions and more easily access federal programs."

One provision would provide $100 million for outreach efforts to rural communities about broadband affordability grants and programs administered through the Federal Communications Commission.



Disclosure: Just Transition Fund contributes to our fund for reporting on Climate Change/Air Quality, Environment, Livable Wages/Working Families, Social Justice. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


get more stories like this via email
Early voting locations will be open across Nevada for several weeks, from May 28 through June 10. (Jlmcanally/Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

The Nevada primary election is June 14, and early voting starts tomorrow and runs through June 10. Mail balloting is now permanent, so every active …


Social Issues

Democrats in the Florida Legislature are reviving calls for stricter gun-control laws, following the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas. Florida's …

Environment

This week, in honor of World Otter Day, conservation groups are looking to raise awareness about efforts to restore sea otters along more areas of …


There's been a roughly 38% drop in drowning deaths over the past two decades. (Adobe Stock)

Health and Wellness

With the unofficial start to summer, pools around Ohio are opening this Memorial Day weekend, and when it comes to swim time, experts encourage …

Environment

Memorial Day weekend marks the beginning of water recreation season, and before putting on a swimsuit, Iowa environmental experts say being mindful …

A 2019 report from the Economic Policy Institute found teacher shortages were especially acute in higher-poverty schools. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

As the nation processes the horrific shooting in Uvalde, where 19 children and two teachers were killed, teachers' unions across Illinois and America …

Health and Wellness

One of Connecticut's largest health systems launched a new resource in Hartford this month, aimed at helping patients access healthy and nutritious …

Social Issues

Advocates are contending the New York State Senate is not doing enough to lower the price of prescription drugs. Recently, lawmakers dropped bills …

 

Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright © 2021