Faith Coalition for the Common Good hopes for broadband as a public utility

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Faith Coalition for the Common Good of Springfield is hoping to advance the fight for broadband internet access as a public utility.

The access to broadband campaign, #ConnectMe, has gathered growing support for decreasing the digital divide from Illinois legislators and has become an issue in the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sen. Tony Muñoz, D-Chicago, is the sponsor of a Senate bill which would require the Illinois Broadband Advisory Council to explore the feasibility of universal or public broadband. Sen. Andy Manar, D-Bunker Hill, is planning to co-sponsor the measure and has given his full support to the campaign.

If broadband can be part of a public utility, noted Faith Coalition executive director Shelly Heideman in a press release, it would help alleviate the fears and barriers involved with meeting educational needs, transportation, employment, communication for disabilities and family support, safety for domestic violence victims, completing applications for assistance and maintaining medical needs such as counseling, and ordering/delivering medicines, among others.

"It is widely known that vulnerable communities, including low income, disabled, elderly, immigrant, reentry populations as well as others, have struggled for some time now with obtaining and maintaining internet access for their needs," Heideman added.

The Faith Coalition is an affiliate of Gamaliel of Illinois, which is part of the 15-state Gamaliel Network, a faith-based, multi-ethnic, multi-racial grassroots organization.

Contact Steven Spearie at 622-1788, sspearie@sj-r.com or twitter.com/@stevenspearie.

26-Delivered

via The State Journal-Register

August 17, 2020 at 10:35AM

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