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Mar 27, 2020

As Montana Schools Close Their Doors Amid COVID-19 Outbreak, Tester Calls on FCC to Ensure Kids Have Internet Access

Senator: “The FCC must take action to expand internet availability and keep Americans informed”

As schools across Montana shutter their doors in response to the coronavirus outbreak, U.S. Senator Jon Tester is calling on Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai to ensure that all K-12 students have access to the internet so they can keep up with their education.

Tester-a working farmer and former school teacher who lives in a remote area with spotty service-has been a relentless advocate for keeping Montanans connected by improving rural broadband, particularly to ensure that kids in rural and frontier places have the same access to internet as those in urban areas.

"Without swift action from the FCC, students from households without access to high-speed internet face challenges in learning from home while their schools are closed," wrote Tester in a letter with his colleagues. "...[I] urge the FCC to use its existing authority and resources to ensure that all students can access online instruction at home to continue learning and keep Americans informed during this public health crisis."

Schools across the country-including Montana-have closed due to the current public health crisis and are now relying on online instruction to teach students, yet, nearly 12 million students don't have access to internet in their homes. Tester is demanding that the FCC do everything in their power to ensure that all kids can access education through the internet.

Tester is also requesting that the FCC create a consumer-friendly web portal-searchable by region-with the latest information about how consumers can get and stay connected, and he is asking that they work with media outlets to distribute this information to those who are not already online. This would include contacts for telecommunications providers, links to maps of publicly available WiFi hotspots, and information about federal and corporate assistance to those without broadband internet.

Tester has been working tirelessly to ensure that Montana is prepared to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic. On Wednesday, after 72 hours negotiating substantial, bipartisan improvements to COVID-19 stimulus legislation that had previously fallen far short, Tester voted to deliver critical, urgent relief to Montana workers, families, small businesses, hospitals and others hardest hit by the outbreak.

Full text of Tester's letter can be found HERE.

Visit for a list of resources for Montanans during the COVID-19 outbreak


Office Contact Information

Senator Tester's Montana staff serves the state from offices in Billings, Bozeman, Butte, Great Falls, Helena, Kalispell, and Missoula. Please bring your concerns with federal agencies, academy nominations, and other situations to one of these Montana offices.


Judge Jameson Federal Building
2900 4th Ave N, Suite 201
Billings, MT 59101
Phone: (406) 252-0550
Fax: (406) 252-7768


Avant Courier Building
1 E Main Street, Suite 202
Bozeman, MT 59715
Phone: (406) 586-4450
Fax: (406) 586-7647


Silver Bow Center
125 W Granite, Suite 200
Butte, MT 59701
Phone: (406) 723-3277
Fax: (406) 782-4717

Great Falls

119 1st Avenue N, Suite 102
Great Falls, MT 59401
Phone: (406) 452-9585
Fax: (406) 452-9586


208 North Montana Avenue
Suite 104
Helena, MT 59601
Phone: (406) 449-5401
Fax: (406) 449-5462


8 Third Street E
Kalispell, MT 59901
Phone: (406) 257-3360
Fax: (406) 257-3974


130 W Front St.
Missoula, MT 59802
Phone: (406) 728-3003
Fax: (406) 728-2193

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