LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – New legislation was introduced this week by House Democrats with the goal of bringing more high-speed internet to more homes and businesses. According to a statement released by Michigan House Democrats, House Bills 5032-5040 are a part of a plan to expand high-speed internet access alongside Gov. Whitmer’s creation of the Office of High-Speed Internet within the Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity.

Representative Helena Scott emphasized that internet access is an issue that impacts everyone,

Lack of access to high-speed internet is an issue that impacts both rural and urban communities. The days of viewing the internet as a luxury are behind us. Creating more accessible, affordable high-speed internet is necessary to attract and retain good-paying jobs and talented workers to our state.”

The bills would, according to House Democrats:

  • Appropriate $400 million in available federal funding to expand high-speed internet access to underserved areas across Michigan.
  • Allocate $25 million to help schools purchase mobile hotspots for students.
  • Codify the Office of High-Speed Internet, recently announced by the governor.
  • Make high-speed internet more affordable to working families.

House Democratic Leader Donna Lasinki explained why high-speed internet access should be a top priority,

Expanding access to high-speed internet continues to be one of my top priorities. COVID-19 has highlighted the importance of fast, reliable internet to ensure Michigan’s workforce and economy remains competitive and students have access to a quality education. Accessible and affordable high-speed internet is more vital than ever, and I look forward to working with my colleagues to make this a reality for all Michiganders.”

House Bills 5032-5040 have been referred to the House Committee on Communications and Technology.