Core to the mission of Independent Living Centers is advocacy! The members of CFILC develop positions regarding issues that impact people with disabilities, and we join our allies in advocating for access and equal opportunities for people with disabilities. To learn about the current issues see below, please contact Henry Contreras, CFILC's Public Policy Director.
CFILC Letter of Support: AB 1665 (Garcia) Telecommunications: Internet for All Now Act April 10th, 2017
Dear Assembly Member Garcia:
The California Foundation for Independent Living Centers (CFILC) represents 21 Independent Living Centers statewide that provide programs and services for over 100,000 people with disabilities in California each year. I am pleased to inform you that the CFILC Board of Directors has reviewed your Assembly Bill 1665 and have voted to take a formal position of SUPPORT on this important legislation that would help close the Digital Divide that disproportionately impacts people with disabilities.
CFILC strongly supports the Internet for All Now Act of 2017 because it will help ensure that California will be able to meet the statutorily-prescribed goal of 98 percent deployment of broadband services. It would emphasize reaching out to un-served households to help transition them to higher speed Internet networks, while setting a new objective of bringing 90 percent of all households online by 2023. Moreover, it would authorize funding to be made available to assist low-income households in accessing online services to that they can be included in today's digital economy.
AB 1665 would extend the California Advanced Service Fund (CASF) and authorizes the additional collection of a modest fee on telephone bills to support broadband infrastructure deployment and adoption in unserved and disadvantaged communities. CFILC strongly believes that more so than ever before, access to internet services is an indispensable right and that it is no longer a luxury. Instead, it is an absolute necessity to gain equal access to education, health care, employment, and economic opportunities. The bill does not impose any new fees or taxes and would not be a burden on the state General Fund.
The disability community's commitment to close the Digital Divide for people with disabilities is one of the most important issues facing our community in California and throughout the nation. For example, according to 54 percent of adults with disabilities use the Internet, compared to 81 percent of non-disabled adults. In addition, only 41 percent of disabled adults have access to broadband services at home, while 69 percent of those without a disability have such access.
The failure to close this divide for people with disabilities would result in significant, negative consequences. People with disabilities are increasingly dependent upon having access to affordable Internet service plans and broadband technology. Improvements in Assistive Technology have enabled people with disabilities to live independently in their homes and communities as a viable alternative to more costly and dehumanizing institutionalization in nursing homes and other institutions. Access to affordable Internet services is a vital part of acquiring the advanced technology that supports in Assistive Technology devices, software, and hardware because they require sufficient, minimum, broadband capacity to operate and maintain those applications.
For all of these reasons, CFILC thanks you for your leadership on this important issue and we are pleased to lend our support to your bill.
Teresa Favuzzi, MSW
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