The Hill: Dem introduces bill to make government websites mobile-friendly
Rep. Robin Kelly (D-Ill.) is introducing a new bill aimed at bridging the digital divide by requiring all future government websites to be mobile friendly.
Kelly, the ranking member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on Information Technology, explained that the bill is aimed at making government policy more accessible to lower-income individuals, particularly in inner cities that can’t afford broadband access on their computers and often access the web through their mobile phones.
“In 2017, it’s unreasonable that one in ten Americans cannot effectively connect with their government because they only use mobile devices,” Kelly said in an emailed statement. “Deep urban and remote rural communities are the most affected by our government’s failure to provide mobile-accessible websites. Without broadband coverage, these Americans are tied to the mobile-only Internet.”
House Energy and Commerce Committee ranking member Frank Pallone Jr. (D-N.J.) is cosponsoring the bill.According to a study by the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, a D.C. based technology think tank, 40 percent of all government websites either do not have mobile accessibility or are difficult to access on a phone.
Pages that are difficult to access via mobile phone include Trade.gov and the FAFSA website, the access point for federal student loan assistance.
Kelly's bill comes amid a larger push in the government to extend access to America’s digitally underserved areas. Sens. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.V.) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) have introduced legislation and advocated for extending broadband into rural areas, whose connection speeds and general access to broadband lack heavily compared to more urban areas.