Angela Siefer

Sustaining the Movement and Funding: The Future of Digital Inclusion

We have 1,300 people at Net Inclusion 2024 in Philadelphia. We’ve secured $2.75 billion from the Digital Equity Act. And this is just the beginning. It has to be just the beginning. So how do we sustain this movement? The answer to sustainability lies in robust digital inclusion ecosystems. They’re the key to HOLISTIC digital inclusion. Digital equity is the goal, and digital inclusion ecosystems lead us there by weaving together digital inclusion activities happening across your communities. These 6 strategies will help sustain our movement and field:

Ending the ACP will Limit the Internet’s Economic and Healthcare Benefits for Low-Income Households

What does solving the digital divide look like? The simple answer—getting more people online—is tempting, but it’s just a first step. Focusing only on home adoption rates provides a too limited perspective on the benefits of solving the digital divide. Consistency of connectivity is a key issue for low-income households—and this consistency is an important part of what the Federal Communications Commission’s Affordable Connectivity Plan (ACP) offers. For many households, the digital divide is not a one-time bridge to cross. Instead, online connectivity can be episodic.

What Does Artificial Intelligence Mean for Digital Equity?

Wherever you’re at in your AI journey, it’s time for a digital inclusion community discussion. What we know for sure is that AI will cause another digital divide, or further exacerbate the one we already have. To jump-start the discussion, I have some overarching thoughts about AI and digital inclusion: 

NDIA’s Roadmap to Digital Inclusion: Shaping the Future of USF

The National Digital Inclusion Alliance (NDIA) sees reshaping USF as a key potential strategy for achieving digital equity. Five key recommendations for Congress as it considers the future of USF are:

Department of Labor Seeks to Better Bridge Digital Divide in the Nation’s Workforce

The US Department of Labor (DOL) is considering the essential role of digital skills and broadband in the workforce. The National Digital Inclusion Alliance (NDIA) emphasized that digital skills are key to digital equity in our recent comments in response to DOL’s Digital Literacy and Resilience Request for Information. NDIA’s comments highlighted models of digital skills programs operating within the framework of holistic digital inclusion strategies. NDIA emphasized five overarching points:

NDIA Submits Comments to FCC on ‘Digital Discrimination’ Definition and Rules

The National Digital Inclusion Alliance (NDIA) submitted comments to the Federal Communications Commission regarding the implementation of the digital discrimination section in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. NDIA submitted comments urging the FCC to:

SHLB and NDIA Call for Senate Confirmation of FCC Nominee Gigi Sohn

We strongly urge you to take concerted action to promote the nomination of Gigi Sohn [Senior Fellow and Public Advocate at the Benton Institute for Broadband & Society] to be a Commissioner of the Federal Communications Commission. Sohn has been a long-time advocate for internet freedom, consumer protection, and digital inclusivity. The FCC cannot move forward on several significant public interest issues until Ms. Sohn is confirmed by the full US Senate.

Digital Inclusion Guide for States: How to Prepare for Success in Your State Digital Equity Planning

This guide provides state and territory leaders with simple, tactical steps to prepare now for planning and eventual implementation of digital equity strategies. Under the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), the Digital Equity Act (DEA) funds the creation and implementation of statewide digital equity plans.

NDIA Requests FCC Update and Release of Broadband Adoption Data

To ensure Congress's largest-ever broadband and digital equity investments are here to stay, we must have robust and accurate broadband adoption data. Unfortunately, such broadband adoption data is not currently publicly available. While the Federal Communications Commission's maps were updated in 2021 with 2020 data, the broadband adoption data was not released. The importance of having robust, accurate, and timely data can not be overstated.

Digital Inclusion Policy Priories

The National Digital Inclusion Alliance prioritizes equity. This means our digital inclusion work prioritizes people who have been left behind in the digital age. NDIA’s policy priorities focus on expanding access to affordable broadband service, appropriate devices, and digital skills training and support. NDIA bridges the community of digital inclusion practitioners and policymakers with a unified voice advocating for broadband access, devices, digital skills training, and tech support.