UCC Media Justice

UCC Media Justice Update

Statement on Signing of Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act

The United Church of Christ Media Justice Ministry celebrates Congress' passage and the President's signature on the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA). This legislation strengthens the United States' previous down payment to ensure high speed broadband internet is affordable to all people and adopts new programs to fund state and local community efforts working to improve digital adoption.

President Biden signs the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act on November 15, 2021

The $14 Billion invested in affordable broadband services and the expansion of eligibility standards will go a long way to ensuring that every household in the country can purchase the wired broadband necessary to serve a whole household. The Digital Equity Act, which was incorporated into the IIJA, dedicates $360 million in planning and other grants through 2027. This legislation will help ensure critical outreach and support for families and individuals who are purchasing internet services for the first time will be well-supported. The legislation also includes considerable funds to build out infrastructure to communities that do not have access to the Internet at all, or are limited to old, slow connections.


These provisions were part of bi-partisan legislation, focusing on the needs of everyday people. When some of our community members are left off modern communications networks, the whole community suffers. Our society suffers when our neighbors can't find jobs, when the kids down the block can't access education, and when the elderly person who is dear to us is left behind. Almost every aspect of our society was moving online and that transition was expedited by the COVID-19 pandemic.


In addition to the important affordability provisions, the IIJA also adopted a historic provision prohibiting discrimination in broadband deployment.


Communications is a human right — a tool that connects us to our communities, helps to disclose injustice, and facilitate innumerable aspects of modern life. Since a 1997 General Synod resolution, the United Church of Christ has formally recognized that we need to ensure we do not become a society divided between "information rich" and "information poor," which leaves struggling people without the tools to succeed in modern society. Congress' most recent enactment will move us close to that goal.


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