Congressman Tom O’Halleran (AZ-01) introduced the Broadband Adoption and Opportunity Act: bipartisan legislation to leverage public-private partnerships to refurbish internet-capable devices for students and underserved families through donation, lending, or low-cost purchasing programs. The bill is co-sponsored by Congressman Bill Johnson (OH-06).
Public-private partnerships outlined in the bill will participate in a five-year pilot program within the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA). The legislation also directs NTIA to work with states, tribes, and the Federal Communications Commission to develop best practices to increase broadband adoption rates among underserved groups, increase awareness about current low-cost broadband programs, and expand technical training programs for individuals to learn how to use internet-capable devices.
“Since the beginning of the COVID emergency, nonprofit computer refurbishers have worked heroically, in partnership with local school districts, to provide computers for hundreds of thousands of low-income families. This effort has been remarkable but not surprising. Partnerships with nonprofit refurbishers, to provide affordable, reliable devices for new internet users, have long been a key component of successful community digital inclusion strategies. NDIA applauds Congressman O’Halleran’s proposal for a pilot program to recognize and provide financial support for these partnerships.”