Ron Wright, who represents Texas' 6th Congressional District, teamed up with two Democrats and one Republican to introduce the Digital Global Access Policy Act this past week.
The resolution, otherwise known as HR 1359, promotes internet access in developing countries to spur economic growth, promote democracy, improve education and health and empower women around the globe, according to a news release. Wright sponsored the bill and has estimated that more than three billion people lack access to the internet, especially in developing countries.
But now with the Digital GAP Act’s introduction, the United States Congress can begin to address those concerns.
“By encouraging better coordination with the private sector and inclusion of internet infrastructure in general infrastructure projects, this bill will maximize the reach of U.S. assistance and, ultimately, close the digital gap,” Wright stated.
Co-sponsors for the bill include House Committee on Foreign Affairs Ranking Member Mike McCaul and Democratic congressmen Ted Lieu and Ami Bera. Lieu said the internet had a tremendous economic, social and political impact on the world, but a lack of affordable internet limits the opportunities of those living in developing countries.
“With the Digital GAP Act, at least 1.5 billion people living in urban and rural areas will be able to access the internet for the first time,” Lieu remarked.
McCaul stated that billions of people lack access to the internet. But thanks to the Digital GAP Act, it will support economic growth by accelerating the deployment of internet infrastructure, partnerships with the private sector and the removal of barriers to a favorable investment climate.
“I commend Rep. Wright for leading our efforts to bridge the digital divide and advance commonsense legislation to advance U.S. interests globally,” McCaul remarked.
The bill was sent to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs on Tuesday, Feb. 26, awaiting a future vote from the House of Representatives.