The gap between people with effective access to digital and information technology, and those with very limited or no access at all.
Over the past decade, a range of states have developed and executed strategies to methodically chip away at rural broadband challenges.
At least in the state of Virginia, counties are rural, yet they have been left out of the design of broadband deployment and the conversation around rural broadband. Nevertheless, they are a crucial part of the local broadband story, and their support can go a long way in bridging the digital divide. In this article, we offer preliminary analysis of a question about broadband deployment.
On June 3, Vice President Kamala Harris, Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo, and Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland announced the availability of nearly $1 billion in National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) grants to expand broadband access and adoption on Tribal lands. "Indigenous communities have shaped our nation throughout our history," said Vice President Harris.
Federal Communications Commission Acting Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel announced the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program enrolled more than one million households in the program's first week. Households in all 50 states, Washington, DC, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and American Samoa are benefitting from the subsidy program initiated by Congress. Households can qualify several ways such as through their use of existing assistance programs like SNAP, Medicaid, Lifeline or if a child relies on reduced-price school meals programs.
This week, the Federal Communications Commission adopted rules for the Emergency Connectivity Fund Program, providing $7.171 billion for schools and libraries for the purchase of connected devices and broadband connections for use by students, school staff, and library patrons at locations other than a school or library.
In the coming days, we will see major progress on a $10+ billion federal investment in digital inclusion. This moment is unprecedented. We've never seen such a large commitment to making broadband service affordable for all. And, as Congress starts to focus on long-term solutions for universal broadband, we're seeing the potential for more digital inclusion investment in the coming months.
Federal Communications Commission Acting Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel circulated and released to the public a draft Report and Order that, if adopted, would establish the $7.17 billion Emergency Connectivity Fund Program, pursuant to section 7402 of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.