National Security > COVID-19 Resource Center > Broadband Summary of the HEROES Act
14 May '20

The House Democrats recently unveiled their fourth COVID-19 bill, the “Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions Act” or the ‘‘HEROES Act.” The HEROES Act, which will be negotiated with the Senate, contains a number of provisions related to broadband and telecommunications access. The Act would make available $4 billion in funding for a monthly discount of up to $50 on certain households’ internet bill, $1.5 billion for connectivity and devices for students, schools and libraries through the FCC’s E-Rate program that can be used both at-home and in the classroom, and $24 million for broadband mapping. The Act also authorizes the appropriation of funds for expansion of broadband subsidies for urban and rural hospitals. The Act further imposes certain limitations on telecommunications providers related to disconnecting service, or charging late fees, due to non-payment related to COVID-19 and requires providers of Lifeline to offer unlimited minutes and data. On the issue of prison phones, the HEROES Act would set interim rates, require that future rates be “just and reasonable” and prohibit site commissions offered to prison facilities by communications providers. Finally, the Act would repeal a 2012 mandate that requires the FCC to auction the “T-Band,” spectrum relied upon by public safety and critical infrastructure operators, for commercial use.

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