Broadband HEROES act – a recap from Benton Institute

The Benton Institute for Broadband & Society’s Weekly Digest posts a weekly recap of the biggest (or most overlooked) broadband stories of the week. This week it’s all about HEROES. I thought I’d post a super-abridged version – but the full story (easy, quick to read) is just a click away

On May 12, House Democrats unveiled the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act. “We are presenting a plan to do what is necessary to address the corona crisis,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi as she announced the legislation. Since more people are relying on home broadband service than ever before — after all, broadband puts the “distance” in social distancing — the HEROS Act includes many provisions to get a lot more people in the U.S. connected and safe.

Provisions include:

  • Emergency Benefit for Broadband Service
  • Expediting Buildout of Rural Broadband Networks
  • Supporting Distance Education
  • Broadband for Healthcare
  • Helping the Federal Government Work from Home
  • Prison Phone Justice
  • Spectrum for First Responders

What’s expected?

As we go to press, the House of Representatives plans to vote on the HEROES Act later today and the measure is likely to pass. Prospects in the Senate are not as good. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has said there is no “urgency.” The Senate will wait until after Memorial Day to consider COVID response options. Republicans are wary of another round of aid and Sen. McConnell declared the Democratic proposal a grab bag of “pet priorities.” He said it is not something that “deals with reality.”

The reality for voters, however, may be in the numbers: 85,000 deaths, nearly 1.5 million cases, and, of course, nearly 37 million people filing for unemployment insurance.


This entry was posted in Policy and tagged by Ann Treacy. Bookmark the permalink.

About Ann Treacy

Librarian who follows rural broadband in MN and good uses of new technology (, hosts a radio show on MN music (, supports people experiencing homelessness in Minnesota ( and helps with social justice issues through Women’s March MN.

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