Today U.S. Senator Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) sent a letter to Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai urging him to take immediate action to strengthen broadband internet access for the millions of Americans currently self-isolating. Senator Hawley requested information on what the FCC is doing to ensure Americans have affordable and uninterrupted internet access during the coronavirus pandemic, how the agency plans to deal with increased web traffic, and what steps the agency is taking to provide new options for Americans without internet access.
“As schools close and businesses shift employees to telework, more Americans than ever will find themselves dependent on their home internet connection,” wrote Senator Hawley. “This is a daunting reality for those who lack sufficient, reliable, affordable broadband. Your pledge to Keep Americans Connected is a good start, but more is needed.”
Read Senator Hawley’s full letter to Chairman Pai here or below.
March 16, 2020
The Honorable Ajit Pai
Federal Communications Commission
445 12th Street SW
Washington, DC 20554
Dear Chairman Pai:
I write today to urge strong and immediate action to strengthen broadband internet access at affordable rates to the millions of Americans now self-isolating in an effort to protect themselves and limit the spread of the coronavirus.
As schools close and businesses shift employees to telework more Americans than ever will find themselves dependent on their home internet connection. This is a daunting reality for those who lack sufficient, reliable, affordable broadband. Your pledge to Keep Americans Connected is a good start, but more is needed.
The FCC has been central to expanding broadband internet access to millions of Americans. As such, I request your response to the following questions:
- How are you and the FCC urgently working too ensure Americans’ connection to each other and to the web remains affordable and uninterrupted for the duration of this pandemic?
- What actions has the agency taken to prepare a regulatory framework to prevent predatory practices and protect millions of Americans from surprise billing as they work and learn from home?
- As this pandemic progresses and abates, how are you working to spare citizens from a billing nightmare due to exceeding data caps?
- As networks fill with traffic, how will you make sure those who need to work will not be throttled or students will be able to continue their education?
- For those families, businesses, and students without a connection to the internet who are now staying home and practicing social distancing, what is the FCC doing to provide new options for them to access the internet at affordable rates?
- What additional resources or statutory authority, if any, does the FCC need to act quickly during a pandemic to ensure internet service to Americans remains affordable and uninterrupted?
Your leadership on the Keeping Americans Connected pledge is appreciated. I, along with all Missourians, look forward to seeing strong action to enforce that pledge and to your answers to my questions. Please respond no later than Monday, March 23, 2020.
Thank you for your attention to this matter.
United States Senator