By Associated Press - Tuesday, July 14, 2020

BANGOR, Maine (AP) - A bipartisan pair of senators has called for a two-year, $160 million pilot program to purchase and distribute Internet-connected devices to libraries in low-income and rural areas.

Maine Republican Sen. Susan Collins and West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin call their proposal the Hotspots and Online Technology and Services Procurement for our Tribes and States Act, or the HOTSPOTS Act. They said the funding would help rural and low-income residents with the growing shift toward online services in the country.

Collins said residents around the country have had to move everything from workplaces to health care to online models due to the coronavirus pandemic. That puts people who don’t have reliable broadband at home at a disadvantage, she said.

The American Library Association has voiced support for the proposal.

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