New rule seeks to close the digital divide for lower income families
WASHINGTON – In an effort to extend affordable internet access to children and families living in federally assisted housing, U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Julián Castro today proposed a rule to require the installation of broadband infrastructure into most HUD-financed multifamily housing developments during their construction or substantial rehabilitation. Read HUD’s proposed rule, “Narrowing the Digital Divide Through Installation of Broadband Infrastructure in HUD-Funded New Construction and Substantial Rehabilitation of Multifamily Rental Housing.”
Recognizing that it is generally easier and cheaper to install the necessary technology for high-speed internet at the time of construction, HUD is proposing that, when feasible, developers include these technologies in their multifamily development plans. HUD’s proposed rule seeks to require that, when feasible, developers install broadband infrastructure at the time of new construction or substantial rehabilitation in multifamily rental housing that is funded or supported by HUD. Additionally, the rule will help states and local governments address the need for broadband access and climate change for low- and moderate-income residents in the communities they serve.
“By ensuring that future HUD funded properties are broadband ready, we are making long term investments in the 21st century global economy that go beyond modems and laptops,” said Secretary Castro. “We want to give our residents and their children the opportunity to bridge the digital divide by connecting to the world of opportunity.” said Secretary Castro.
This rule builds on ConnectHome, an initiative to extend affordable broadband access to families living in HUD-assisted housing. ConnectHome will ensure that high-speed Internet follows children from their classrooms back to their homes.Through this initiative, Internet Service Providers, non-profit organizations and the private sector partners offer no- or low-cost broadband access, technical training, digital literacy programs, and devices for HUD-assisted households in 28 communities across the nation.
There are two methods for submitting comments to the proposed rule published today:
- By Mail. Comments may be submitted by mail to the Regulations Division, Office of General Counsel, Department of Housing and Urban Development, 451 7th Street, SW, Room 10276, Washington, DC 20410-0500.
- Electronic Submission of Comments. Interested persons may submit comments electronically through the Federal eRulemaking Portal at www.regulations.gov. HUD strongly encourages commenters to submit comments electronically. Electronic submission of comments allows the commenter maximum time to prepare and submit a comment, ensures timely receipt by HUD, and enables HUD to make them immediately available to the public. Comments submitted electronically through the www.regulations.gov website can be viewed by other commenters and interested members of the public. Commenters should follow the instructions provided on that site to submit comments electronically.