The Coalition of Urban and Metropolitan Universities proudly signed on to a letter prepared by Educause that serves to advocate for increased broadband infrastructure and access from the federal government. On June 5, 2020, a letter was sent to Nancy Pelosi, Mitch McConnell, Kevin McCarthy, and Charles Schumer detailing the importance and needs of improved access. The needs and importance of high quality broadband has been further reinforced during the COVID-19 pandemic; stay-at-home orders “have exposed the pervasiveness of unserved and underserved populations.”
The digital divide is one of the most common issues CUMU members have expressed these past couple of months. Even though many institutions have worked diligently to provide devices for students, there are huge challenges of connectivity, as service is expensive or inadequate for many.
Educause endorses the passage of the legislation Supporting Connectivity for Higher Education Students in Need Act (H.R. 6814/S.3701), which would allow the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) to award $1B in grants to higher education institutions to help meet the needs of economically disadvantaged students.
Additionally, Educause details how institutions are working collaboratively with K-12 districts, libraries, and R&E networks to increase access, but with revenue losses and other budget cuts, this is not sustainable without federal support.
A total of 30 organizations signed on to this letter, illustrating how important this issue is to many different demographic groups.