BRIDGEPORT, Conn. – Students at Warren Harding High School in Bridgeport shared stories about how they often go to great lengths to finish homework in a Friday visit with U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy, who is looking to help the teens in their plight.
Murphy (D-Conn.) joined State Comptroller Kevin Lemboto in the the roundtable discussion on efforts to expand broadband Internet access in low-income communities.
Murphy heard stories of students who have written papers on their cellphones or stayed in the parking lot late into the night to access the school's Wi-Fi to study when all the computer terminals at the school library were full -- and all because they don’t have Internet access at home.
“I first got involved in this issue when the principal of a Bridgeport high school told me that only a minority of her students have Internet at home,” said Murphy. “It’s my firm belief that all students should have access to the tools they need to excel, and the Internet is a powerful resource that helps our kids learn new skills, achieve their goals, and succeed.
"Today, I heard firsthand from students, and their disheartening stories made it clear just how life-changing this legislation could be for them and so many others around Connecticut.”
The Broadband Adoption Act will reform the Universal Service Fund Lifeline Assistance Program – which subsidizes basic landline and mobile phone services for low-income Americans – by making subsidies for broadband Internet services also available to eligible households.
The bill, which Murphy introduced earlier this week, would establish a broadband Lifeline Assistance program and help bridge the digital divide by making in-home online services more affordable.
“Every student, family, household and business in the State of Connecticut deserves equal access to ultra-high-speed broadband,” said Lembo. “The future for these students – and the future for Connecticut’s entire economy – demands affordable and quality high-speed Internet service for everyone. We need to start thinking about ultra-high-speed broadband access the same way we think about schools, roads, rails and bridges. These are all infrastructure cornerstones necessary to hold up our state and must be priorities.”
State Office of Consumer Counsel Elin Katz also spoke on the state’s CTgig Project, which facilitates public-private partnerships to expand access to high-speed, low-cost Internet.
“In this day and age, every student needs access to a broadband connection, as does every family and every citizen," Katz said. "It’s as essential to our lives today as electricity, and we need to find ways to bring the Internet into every home.”
U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) is a co-sponsor of the bill.
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