LEXINGTON, Ky. — The Prichard Committee for Educational Excellence and quite a few different schooling, well being, enterprise and non-profit organizations are calling for federal funding to make common web entry obtainable in rural areas and to low-income residents.
“As companies and colleges have more and more gone on-line within the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, it has develop into abundantly clear that the web is as essential as electrical energy and plumbing for our day by day lives,” stated Prichard Committee President & CEO Brigitte Blom Ramsey.
In 2017, census knowledge confirmed that Kentucky ranked 44th within the nation for broadband entry. Almost 25 % of Kentucky households do not need a subscription for high-speed web, and greater than 15 % do not need a pc, based on the U.S. Census Bureau. Amongst households with out residence web, one-third say it merely is just too costly. In lots of rural elements of the state, high-quality web connections are unreliable or non-existent. Residents who wish to inform members of congress to help common web entry might go to prichardcommittee.org to ship an e-mail.
“Kentucky’s congressional delegation has a robust platform to make sure all our households have web entry, and so they should achieve this with urgency,” stated Ramsey. “Colleges and companies could also be closed, however we should be sure that all of Kentucky’s households have the instruments they should be taught and earn on-line, in the course of the pandemic and past.”
Kentucky companies and organizations advocating for common web entry alongside the Prichard Committee embody the Kentucky Nonprofit Community, the Kentucky Farm Bureau, the Kentucky Faculty Board Affiliation, the Kentucky Affiliation of Faculty Superintendents, the Kentucky Affiliation of Faculty Directors, the Ohio Valley Academic Cooperative, 55,000 Levels, and the Kentucky Major Care Affiliation. These teams will ship a letter to members of Kentucky’s congressional delegation in late Could. Organizations who want to signal on are inspired to contact the Prichard Committee earlier than Could 15.
The federal E-Charge program, which has traditionally made web funding inexpensive for colleges and libraries, may very well be a doable automobile for the funding, based on Ramsey.
“Funding for web entry may additionally come by means of one other coronavirus reduction package deal, much like the CARES Act,” stated Ramsey. “Whatever the funding automobile, making certain common entry to broadband web for all households is an crucial.”