DelBene Hosts Roundtable on Major Broadband Investments Headed to Washington
Yesterday, Congresswoman Suzan DelBene (WA-01) held a roundtable with constituents and local leaders at the Monroe Public Library to discuss how the pandemic has exacerbated digital inequality and highlight upcoming investments from the bipartisan infrastructure law that will help improve broadband access and affordability around the state.
In Washington state, around 8.5% of residents live in areas without any broadband access, and many more live in areas with insufficient access or face cost barriers. The bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which was supported by DelBene and signed into law by President Biden on November 15, allocates a minimum of $100 million to Washington state to help expand broadband coverage to the at least 241,000 Washingtonians who currently lack it. The law also will make 1.4 million residents (19 percent of the population) eligible for subsidies that will make broadband more affordable.
“Part of my district is a global technology and innovation hub but you can drive less than an hour away from there to rural areas without broadband or cell phone access. And when it is available, it is often unaffordable,” said DelBene. “The conversation we had highlighted the enduring challenges that our communities are facing without affordable, reliable access to the internet. The bipartisan infrastructure law will make historic investments in expanding broadband and bridging the digital divide.”
“Whether in-person or online, libraries connect us. From supporting economic, educational, and social recovery during a global pandemic to nurturing the youngest of readers, our dedicated attention to community needs are the foundation of our service model,” said Lois Langer Thompson, Executive Director of Sno-Isle Libraries. “We appreciate the leadership and advocacy of Congresswoman DelBene to increase broadband access and digital resilience in Washington State. Equitable access is a core value in the services that public libraries provide.”
A fact sheet about how the infrastructure law will benefit Washington state can be found here.