On Wednesday, the Subcommittee on Communications and Technology within the Committee on Energy and Commerce held a hearing entitled, "Connecting America: Broadband Solutions to Pandemic Problems." The hearing focused on the broadband digital divide, which has disproportionately affected rural communities and communities of color, with cost being the driving factor for the lack of broadband internet service among low-income and rural families. Last week, the full committee advanced its provisions of COVID-19 budget reconciliation package, which included language that would direct $7.6 billion towards the Emergency Connectivity Fund to support remote learning during the pandemic by providing computers and tablets, internet service and Wi-Fi hotspots for students and teachers.
During the hearing, lawmakers on the subcommittee called for both expanding service access in rural areas and creating more affordable service access in urban areas of the country. “We all know that our nation needs to invest in deploying new networks, particularly in rural communities, if we’re going to ensure that everyone can get online,” Chairman of the subcommittee Representative Michael Doyle (D-Pennsylvania) said. 
Additionally, on the eve of the hearing, House Energy and Commerce Republicans released a proposed package of 28 bills as part of a renewed effort to expand broadband internet infrastructure and connectivity in rural communities and public lands. The package includes 28 individual Republican bills, the majority of which are being reintroduced from a similar broadband package in the 116th Congress, and every Republican on the full committee has sponsored at least one of the bills.