What's Your State's Digital Equity Plan?

Benton Institute for Broadband & Society

Monday, February 12, 2024

Digital Beat

What's Your State's Digital Equity Plan?

Grace Tepper

To achieve true digital equity, deploying broadband to every household in the United States will not be enough. What is also needed are robust, comprehensive programs that address the human side of closing the digital divide and ensuring everyone has access to the technologies, skills, and opportunities necessary to thrive.

Digital equity is fundamentally concerned with promoting full participation in the digital economy and society by all. Achievement of digital equity requires strategic investments in human and community capacity.

Over the last seven months and with funding from the Digital Equity Act's State Digital Equity Planning Grant Program, all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico have released draft digital equity plans for public review and comment.

Prior to these efforts, only California had developed a statewide digital equity plan. By creating their own plans, states can identify barriers to digital equity and outline specific measures aimed at addressing those barriers. Once these plans are approved by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), states will be able to apply for funds from the State Digital Equity Capacity Grant Program to implement those plans. NTIA required each plan to include a clear description of the state’s vision for digital equity in the context of its overarching strategy and goals.

The focus of the plans is...

  • The availability of, and affordability of access to, fixed and wireless broadband technology;
  • The online accessibility and inclusivity of public resources and services;
  • Digital literacy;
  • Awareness of, and the use of, measures to secure the online privacy of, and cybersecurity with respect to, an individual; and
  • The availability and affordability of consumer devices and technical support for those devices.

...and how these objectives impact and interact with states':

  • Economic and workforce development goals, plans, and outcomes;
  • Educational outcomes;
  • Health outcomes;
  • Civic and social engagement; and
  • Delivery of other essential services.

Congress intended that the plans specifically address the barriers to digital equity faced by eight covered populations, including:

My team at the Benton Institute for Broadband & Society has been reviewing the draft plans and providing brief summaries. Today we note that we've published summaries of all 52 plans and are sharing links to each of them below.  

Plan Summary State Office
Envisioning a Connected, Interconnected Alabama Alabama Department for Economic an Community Affairs
Alaska's Plan to Address Broadband Adversity Alaska Broadband Office
Centering Communities in Arizona's Digital Equity Plan Arizona Commerce Authority
Developing Digital Skills and Opportunity in Arkansas Arkansas State Broadband Office (ARConnect)
A New Chapter of Digital Equity Work in California California Department of Technology
Coloradans at the Heart of State's Digital Access Plan Colorado Department of Labor and Employment
Everyone Connected: Connecticut's Digital Equity Plan Connecticut Department of Administrative Services (DAS) Commission for Educational Technology
A Plan for Digital Equity in Delaware Delaware Broadband Office
Florida's Roadmap for Closing the Digital Divide Office of Broadband
Georgia's Plan for Digital Connectivity Georgia Technology Authority
Aloha Spirit Inspires Hawai'i Digital Equity Plan Hawai'i Broadband and Digital Equity Office at University of Hawai'i
A Digital Access Plan for All Idahoans Idaho Commission for Libraries
The Plan for a Connected Illinois Illinois Office of Broadband, Illinois Extension
A Plan to Transform Indiana's Digital Equity Landscape Indiana Broadband Office
Addressing Digital Equity Needs in Iowa Division of Information Technology
A Digital Equity Plan to Connect All Kansans Office of Broadband Development
Kentucky Pursues Full and Equitable Digital Access for All Department of Workforce Development
A Look at Louisiana's Draft Digital Equity Plan Louisiana Office of Broadband Development & Connectivity (ConnectLA)
Maine's Vision of Digital Equity Maine Connectivity Authority
Equity for the Digital Age: Maryland's Plan Maryland Office of Statewide Broadband
Massachusetts' Unified Vision of Digital Equity Massachusetts Broadband Institute
Communities Know Communities Best: Michigan's Digital Equity Plan Michigan High Speed Internet Office
What a Digitally Equitable Minnesota Could Look Like—And How to Get There Minnesota Office of Broadband Development
Digital Skills and Accessibility in Mississippi Office of Broadband Expansion and Accessibility of Mississippi (BEAM)
Missouri Pursues Sustainable Digital Opportunity Initiatives Missouri Department of Economic Development
Montana's Digital Opportunity Plan Montana Broadband Office
Creating Digital Opportunity in Nebraska Nebraska Information Technology Commission
The Plan for Closing Nevada’s Digital Divide Office of Science, Innovation and Technology
Equitable Participation in Today's Digital World: New Hampshire's Plan New Hampshire Department of Business and Economic Affairs | National Collaborative for Digital Equity (NCDE) | University of New Hampshire Extension | Digital Equity Research Center (DERC)
A Plan for Connecting New Jersey NJ Office of Broadband & Connectivity
New Mexico's Plan for an Inclusive and Prosperous Society Office of Broadband Access and Expansion (OBAE)
In a New York State of Digital Equity ConnectALL
A Vision and a Mission for Digital Equity in North Carolina North Carolina Department of Information Technology, Division of Broadband and Digital Equity
North Dakota's Collective Approach to Digital Equity North Dakota Information Technology
Achieving a Digitally Inclusive Ohio BroadbandOhio
Fulfilling Oklahoma's Digital Promise Oklahoma Broadband Office
Oregon's Plan for Meaningful Broadband Access Oregon Broadband Office
Connected and Empowered: A Digital Equity Plan for Pennsylvania Pennsylvania Broadband Development Authority
¡Su opinión cuenta! Puerto Rico Releases Initial Draft of Digital Equity Plan | ¡Su Opinión Cuenta! Puerto Rico Pública el Borrador Inicial del Plan de Equidad Digital Puerto Rico Broadband Program
A Wholistic Digital Equity Plan for Rhode Island ConnectRI – the Rhode Island Commerce Corporation
Creating a Foundation of Digital Equity in South Carolina Digital Opportunity Department
South Dakota's Plan to Leverage Digital Equity to Reach Economic Goals Office of Economic Development
Tennessee Drafts a Digital Opportunity Plan Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development
Guiding Texas' Digital Opportunity Investments Texas Broadband Development Office
Achieving Digital Independence in Utah Utah Broadband Center
Developing Digital Equity Solutions in Vermont Vermont Community Broadband Board
Connectivity in the Commonwealth: Virginia's Plan Department of Housing and Community Development
Washington State Sets Digital Equity Goals Washington State Broadband Office
Working Towards Digital Equity in DC DC Office of the Chief Technology Officer's (OCTO) State Broadband and Digital Equity Office
West Virginia's Plan to Conquer the Digital Divide West Virginia Department of Economic Development
Wisconsin's Digital Equity Values Public Service Commission of Wisconsin
Wyoming Seeks Feedback on Digital Access Plan Wyoming Broadband Office

Grace Tepper is the Senior Writing Associate at the Benton Institute for Broadband & Society

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 Grace Tepper.