The Senate Foreign Relations Committee has passed H.R.600, the Digital Global Access Policy Act, which is meant to boost digital literacy and internet access abroad.
The bill was spearheaded by Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), a veteran voice for internet access and openness.
The Digital GAP Act will make it the official policy of the State Department and USAID to " expand internet access in developing countries to help reduce the digital divide with the developed world."
That will include providing resources to support infrastructure and make sure that it promotes democracy and that and good governance, with a focus on connecting women, minorities, and marginalized groups, according to Markey.
“American ingenuity created the internet and American leadership should help bring its power to the developing world,” said Markey. “Bridging the global digital divide can help promote prosperity, strengthen democracy, expand educational opportunity and lift some of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable out of poverty. The Digital GAP Act is a passport to the 21st century digital economy, linking the people of the developing world to the most successful communications and commerce tool in history.