The U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has announced a partnership with the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) to expand access to broadband services in communities across the country.
According to a press release issued in late-May, the partnership would facilitate the use of $50 million in funding approved under the Federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act to address discrepancies in access to the devices and services necessary to take advantage of Internet services. The IMLS funding would allow museums and libraries to expand their current digital network access, purchase Internet accessible devices and provide technical support services in their respective communities.
With more and more people of all ages accessing the Internet during the current pandemic to conduct business, attend school or socialize, the lack of access to these services is placing additional stress on underserved or high-need communities.
“Now more than ever, it is critical that all Americans have access to broadband to participate in online learning, get medical care via telehealth, search for jobs, and stay in touch with family and friends,” notes FCC Chair Ajit Pai in the press release. “We look forward to working with IMLS to ensure that our nation’s libraries and Tribal organizations know about this opportunity and how it can help bridge the digital divide, especially in rural and low-income communities.”