52 Visions of Digital Equity—Your State Has One

Benton Institute for Broadband & Society

Wednesday, January 31, 2024

Digital Beat

52 Visions of Digital Equity—Your State Has One

What's Your State's Vision of Digital Equity?

All 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico have drafted their digital equity plans and sought public input on how to improve their strategies to ensure that every community has the capacity needed for full participation in our increasingly connectivity-dependent society, democracy, and economy. As part of their plans, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) has asked states to provide a clear, specific picture of their visions for digital equity. The idea is to describe what success looks like, inform strategies, serve as a guide for setting goals and objectives, and determine the activities the state will prioritize in the Digital Equity Plan.

NTIA required that all digital equity visions address at least these two questions:

  1. What will digital equity look like in the context of your state?
  2. What are the broad goals that should be accomplished in executing this plan (e.g., improve rural health outcomes, increase underrepresented youth employment in technology-related fields)?

As states and their communities evaluate draft visions of digital equity, the Benton Institute for Broadband & Society offers this checklist to help guide reenvisioning a state's goals for universal connectivity—visions that go beyond where wires can reach to where our communities can go if we're all connected.

Below are the draft visions of each of the states, DC, and Puerto Rico. This might be your first opportunity to see all these visions together, to compare and contrast them, and consider how your state's vision stacks up against the rest.

AlabamaTo meet the needs of our 21st-century economy, the State of Alabama envisions a connected, interconnected future. In that envisioned future, all Alabamians—including those who are not currently connected or who face other barriers to digital opportunity—will have the opportunity to benefit from broadband internet, for purposes of economic opportunity, education, healthcare, and all the other ways the internet offers digital opportunity. 

AlaskaEvery Alaskan, as part of their quality of life, will have the digital tools, access, and skills to affordably participate online, wherever they are.

Arizona: A digitally equitable and inclusive Arizona where every Arizonan, regardless of their location or circumstance, has affordable, high-speed reliable internet and the tools, digital skills, and resources needed to thrive in the digital age. 

ArkansasBy 2030, every person, family, and community in Arkansas–regardless of location and income–will have access to: 1) Affordable, reliable high-speed internet service in their homes, businesses, and community anchor institutions 2) The opportunity to enroll in basic computer skills training, 3) A computer, tablet, or mobile device. [follow the link for more]

California: A California in which all residents have access to high-performance broadband, affordable service and devices, and the training and support necessary to enable digital inclusion for economic and other social benefits. 

ColoradoEvery Coloradan has the connectivity, devices, and skills they need to thrive in our digital society and economy by 2028.

ConnecticutConnecticut’s vision for digital equity is for all residents to flourish across every aspect of life—from learning, working, and civic engagement to general well-being—with the assistance of technology tools and skills. 

DelawareThe State of Delaware envisions a future where every individual, regardless of their location or background, has full access to high-speed internet connectivity and the tools necessary to harness its transformative potential. In this vision, urban and rural communities alike can fully participate in the digital economy.

District of Columbia: Every resident, every business, in every corner of DC can live, work, and thrive in the digital age—without bias or barriers.  

Florida: The Florida Office of Broadband envisions a future where every Floridian benefits from a connected economy through the meaningful use of high-speed Internet—to enhance educational and employment opportunities, access telehealth, and engage with families, and local communities.

GeorgiaOur vision for a fully connected Georgia is to ensure that every Georgian has reliable and affordable access to the internet along with the necessary tools and skills to unlock opportunities for educational advancement, economic success, improved health, and strengthened social ties.

HawaiiAll who call Hawai'i home have the confidence, ability, and pathways to thrive in a digital world.

IdahoIdaho’s vision is to support all residents in thriving online through: 1) Digital literacy, cybersecurity, and technical support – providing curated tools and resources to Idahoans to increase digital skills and online safety.   2)  Public services and resources – improving accessibility for Idahoans to connect and engage with local and state services.  3) Affordable broadband and devices – ensuring Idahoans have broadband and internet-enabled devices that fulfill their unique work, school, and life needs.

Illinois: Connect Illinois seeks to (A) ensure universal access to high-speed broadband that is affordable, reliable, and fully scalable for residences, businesses, and community anchor institutions (CAIs) across Illinois. At the same time, Connect Illinois plans to promote digital literacy, adoption, and inclusion while leveraging investment in new broadband infrastructure to spur advances in economic development, as well as innovation in healthcare delivery, education, and agriculture. At its core, the push toward universal access to high-speed broadband infrastructure is one of broadband equity: targeting resources to close gaps and expand opportunity for unserved and underserved communities throughout Illinois. The Connect Illinois digital equity programming and collaborations are a comprehensive approach designed to ensure the state (B) leverages new and existing resources for adoption through targeted digital inclusion strategies and sustainable broadband equity outcomes to help communities identify and address existing broadband equity gaps, and to (C) empower all Illinoisans to utilize and participate fully in an increasingly digital economy and society.

IndianaIndiana residents trust and use innovative connectivity for improved quality of life, resulting in inclusive and resilient communities that ensure opportunities for all. 

IowaAll Iowans will have access to affordable high-speed broadband internet, useful devices, and the training and support in order to participate, contribute, and thrive in society.

Kansas: Ensure all Kansans can enjoy their universal rights to education, healthcare, employment, social services, and participation in the digital economy at home. These rights hinge on equitable access to quality and reliable high-speed broadband at affordable prices, the training required to support digital skills, and the devices and sustainable technical assistance needed to strive and thrive across the entire state.

KentuckyKentucky will be a place where all individuals, businesses, and communities have full and equitable digital access to pursue economic and personal opportunities.

LouisianaLouisiana’s vision is that digital equity will be achieved for all residents and communities.

MaineWe envision a Maine where all of us, especially those traditionally underserved and facing more barriers to being connected, can take full advantage of the economic, educational, health, civic, social and other benefits that reliable, affordable, high-speed broadband can provide. By connecting everyone and ensuring that Mainers have the support and resources to realize the benefits of that connectivity fully, we can ensure there is a place for everyone to thrive in our economy and communities.

MarylandThe State of Maryland envisions a future where every individual, regardless of their location or background, has full access to high-speed internet connectivity and the tools necessary to harness its transformative potential.

Massachusetts: Every resident in Massachusetts has high-speed, high-quality internet availability and can confidently adopt and use the internet regardless of who they are or where they live. This universal connectivity will ensure that everyone has the support they need to enjoy full personal, civic, and economic digital participation throughout their lives with safety and security.  

MichiganThe Michigan High-Speed Internet Office envisions a connected and inclusive state where every resident has an affordable high-speed internet connection available to them regardless of where they live, how much money they make, or what they look like.

Minnesota:  A future where digital equity connects all Minnesota residents to opportunities, options, and each other.

MississippiMississippi’s vision includes broadband accessibility for all citizens with numerous pathways for continued learning so all can partake of the incredible opportunities available in this digital age.

Missouri: The Missouri Office of Broadband Development strives every day to realize the vision of a Missouri where every citizen, regardless of their financial, geographic or demographic background, has access to the complete set of digital skills, technology, and resources necessary to realize their full potential within the digital economy.

MontanaThe Montana Broadband Office’s vision is to narrow the digital divide in support of Montana’s economic, workforce, health, and educational goals by ensuring reliable, affordable internet access for all Montanans.

NebraskaNebraska will grow its economy and improve the lives of Nebraskans by ensuring that Nebraskans have access to affordable, quality broadband, appropriate devices and the skills to use technologies at home, in school, on the farm or ranch, in businesses, in health care, and in government. 

Nevada: By 2029, all Nevadans have access to affordable, reliable, scalable high-speed internet, a connected device, and the digital skills and support needed to safely and securely work, learn, and thrive.

New HampshireEmpower New Hampshire residents to thrive by enabling access to resources, skills, and other supports needed to participate in today’s digital world.

New Jersey: New Jersey's digital equity vision is for every resident to have the confidence and competence to harness the power of the internet, devices, and digitally accessible services. Digital equity can help New Jersey bridge economic and achievement disparities among all residents, enabling them to lead fulfilling lives with dignity.

New Mexico: The State of New Mexico envisions a future in which all residents, families, and communities have equal access to and meaningful use of digital tools, technologies, and information, regardless of their background, income, location, or abilities. This vision aims to bridge the digital divide, ensure inclusive participation in the digital age, and promote social and economic well-being for all residents. [see much more]

New YorkGovernor Kathy Hochul established the ConnectALL Office (CAO) in 2022 to transform New York State’s digital infrastructure so all residents and businesses have access to high-speed, reliable, and affordable broadband for education, economic growth, and full participation in civic life.

North Carolina: We envision a future where all North Carolinians have access to high-speed internet and the digital tools, resources, and skills to fully and equitably participate in our society, democracy and economy. 

North DakotaEmpower every North Dakotan, from our urban centers to the most remote regions of our state, with equitable digital access to be engaged with the opportunities of tomorrow.

Ohio: Our vision of a more digitally equitable Ohio extends beyond connectivity; it encompasses equal opportunity to access quality education, healthcare, job opportunities, government services, and cultural resources online. By fostering collaborative partnerships and empowering under-resourced communities to accomplish its goals, Ohio will ensure that no one is left behind.  

Oklahoma: Oklahomans will have access to the information, resources, and skills needed to participate in society to the fullest and to remain competitive in a digital marketplace.  

OregonIt is the vision of the State of Oregon that all people in Oregon will have access to affordable and reliable high-speed broadband internet to attain positive economic, educational, and health outcomes and to participate in social and civic life. 

PennsylvaniaTo support a healthy and economically strong Commonwealth, every resident deserves to have digital dignity and confidently participate in our increasingly connected society.

Puerto RicoGarantizar que todos los puertorriqueños, independientemente de su origen o ubicación, tengan acceso a los recursos y oportunidades necesarios para prosperar en el mundo digital y participar plenamente en la sociedad moderna. (Ensure all Puerto Ricans, regardless of their background or location, have access to the resources and opportunities necessary to thrive in the digital world and fully participate in modern society.)

Rhode Island: Rhode Island’s overarching vision and goal for statewide broadband and digital equity is to leverage a best-in-class, resilient, sustainable, and scalable broadband infrastructure to propel the state’s 21st century economic, education, healthcare, civic and social engagement, and quality of life, by ensuring all Rhode Islanders have access to affordable, accessible high-speed internet in their homes, at their places of employment, and at public facilities by 2027.

South CarolinaOur vision is for all South Carolinians to have access to affordable, reliable, high-speed internet and to gain the necessary skills to benefit from this technology.

South Dakota: Ensure every citizen will have access to affordable, future-proof, high-speed internet, along with the means to utilize it safely and competently.

TennesseeTennessee’s vision for digital opportunity is ensuring that all Tennesseans have access to affordable and reliable internet service, dependable technology, and the digital literacy skills necessary to empower individuals to fully access all digital opportunities.

TexasImprove quality of life and promote economic growth by enabling fast, reliable and affordable broadband connectivity for all residents and businesses of Texas, promoting universal broadband adoption and providing access to digital skills development. 

UtahTo realize a Utah where all are invited to fully participate in modern society through access to affordable high-speed internet, safe and reliable devices, and training to achieve digital independence.

VermontThe State of Vermont seeks to ensure every individual in Vermont—regardless of identity, community, or economic challenges—has high-quality, accessible, affordable technology resources. 

VirginiaGovernor Youngkin’s vision prioritizes affordable, reliable, high-speed internet access, universally across the Commonwealth of Virginia. The vision to achieve universal broadband under the Digital Opportunity Program is to ensure that every Virginian has access to affordable, reliable, and high-speed internet service, as well as the opportunities necessary to fully participate in the economy and society. 

Washington: Everyone in Washington has affordable broadband internet technology as well as the tools and skills needed to participate in our digital society before 2028.

West Virginia: Ensure that all West Virginians have the resources they need to participate in the digital world and achieve the economic benefits of digital equity.

WisconsinAll Wisconsinites will have equitable access to affordable broadband service and the capacity to fully engage in a digital society. High-speed broadband will benefit all residents and communities.

WyomingWyoming’s vision is to ensure that every citizen and business can connect to and effectively use affordable, reliable, and future-proof broadband.

For states' digital equity plans, see these summaries.

The Benton Institute for Broadband & Society is a non-profit organization dedicated to ensuring that all people in the U.S. have access to competitive, High-Performance Broadband regardless of where they live or who they are. We believe communication policy - rooted in the values of access, equity, and diversity - has the power to deliver new opportunities and strengthen communities.

© Benton Institute for Broadband & Society 2023. Redistribution of this email publication - both internally and externally - is encouraged if it includes this copyright statement.

For subscribe/unsubscribe info, please email headlinesATbentonDOTorg

Kevin Taglang

Kevin Taglang
Executive Editor, Communications-related Headlines
Benton Institute
for Broadband & Society
1041 Ridge Rd, Unit 214
Wilmette, IL 60091
headlines AT benton DOT org

Share this edition:

Benton Institute for Broadband & Society Benton Institute for Broadband & Society Benton Institute for Broadband & Society

Benton Institute for Broadband & Society

Broadband Delivers Opportunities and Strengthens Communities

By Kevin Taglang.