Nov. 27, 2019 By Kristen Torres
A Queens congressional representative has introduced a bill that would help give more students access to the internet.
Congresswoman Grace Meng, who represents large swaths of the borough, announced the introduction of the bill — dubbed the “Closing the Homework Gap Through Mobile Hotspots Act” — on Monday. It would create a $100 million grant program for schools, libraries, U.S. territories and some Native American tribes to purchase mobile hotspots.
The goal is to give students easier access to the internet in order to complete at-home assignments, according to a statement by Meng.
“It breaks my heart knowing that millions of kids, every night, are unable to finish their homework simply because they are without internet access,” Congresswoman Meng said. “Mobile hotspot devices already exist, and with my bill, we can get them to more students who need them.”
As many as 12 million students in the United States lack broadband at home, leaving them to have to find public venues that provide free Wi-Fi or miss doing the assignments altogether, according to the Congresswoman.
The bill would enable more public institutions to offer students free internet access.
“Students can ‘check-out’ these mobile hotspots from their schools or local libraries — just as they do for books,” Meng said.
Meng’s bill has garnered the support of Wanda Brown, President of the American Library Association.
“Libraries are uniquely positioned to bridge the digital divide,” Brown said. “Many also lend hotspots — but we can’t keep enough of them on our shelves to meet demand in our communities. More hotspots in our nation’s libraries is the surest way to make progress in achieving digital equity across the country.”