May 22, 2020

Manchin Applauds FCC Collaboration With IMLS To Increase Broadband, Hotspots During COVID-19 Pandemic

Washington, DC – Today U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) applauded the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) decision to partner with the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) to help bridge the digital divide and expand broadband access in libraries across the United States. West Virginia has received $161,936 through IMLS to expand broadband access using mobile hotspots through libraries across the state.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has shined a light on the digital divide in our country. In rural states like West Virginia, reliable broadband is hard to find and with our students learning from home, they are feeling the effects of limited internet access. Reliable broadband access is a long-term infrastructure issue, but that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t be looking at short-term solutions to the challenges posed by this crisis on our businesses, families, and students from mandatory school closures and business interruptions. That’s why on April 24th, Senator Collins and I sent a letter to the FCC urging them to coordinate their efforts with other federal agencies like IMLS and broadband providers to increase broadband access right now through mobile hotspots and other devices. I am pleased to see the FCC has listened and will work with IMLS to improve broadband access in rural areas across America and in the Mountain State. I look forward to seeing more partnerships that benefit West Virginians moving forward,” said Senator Manchin. 

The CARES Act allocated $50 million in funding to IMLS, the primary source of federal funding for the nation’s museums and libraries, to enable these institutions to prevent, prepare for, and respond to the coronavirus pandemic. This includes work to expand digital network access, purchase Internet accessible devices, and provide technical support services to their communities.