The gap between people with effective access to digital and information technology, and those with very limited or no access at all.
Remarks by Deputy Secretary of Commerce Don Graves at First Plenary Meeting of the International Telecommunication Union’s Conference
At the first plenary meeting of the Internal Telecommunication Union (ITU), Deputy Secretary of Commerce, Don Graves, made it a point to express the top three priorities of the US on global telecommunication issues. Particularly, Graves notes states how "... the pandemic highlighted the importance and necessity of affordable and meaningful connectivity and access to digital technologies...
If the Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment, or BEAD, program is to be a game changer for digital equity, grant makers must ensure government dollars go where they’re needed most. They should start by looking at the growing movement of community connectivity providers whose primary purpose is to help people meet their digital needs at affordable prices.
As part of our $2 billion commitment from 2021 to 2023 to help close the digital divide, AT&T is launching the Bridge to Possibility: Closing the digital divide, together campaign. It is a month-long, company-wide initiative to drive awareness of the digital divide and the collective response needed to address it. We must demonstrate how broadband connectivity tangibly improves lives.
More Than 235 Applications Submitted to the Biden-Harris Administration’s “Internet for All” Middle Mile Grant Program
The Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) released preliminary data that shows over 235 applications were submitted totaling more than $5.5 billion in funding requests for the Enabling Middle Mile Infrastructure Grant Program. Included in President Biden’s “Internet for All” initiative, the Middle Mile grant program provides $1 billion in funding to projects that connect high-speed Internet networks to each other and reduce the cost of bringing Internet service to communities that lack it. Applications for the Middle Mile program were due
In response to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Federal Communications Commission has waived certain Lifeline program rules in twelve previous Orders to provide necessary relief for low-income households. The FCC finds good cause exists to continue to waive the Lifeline recertification and reverification requirements for those Lifeline subscribers residing on Tribal lands through January 31, 2023.
Now that the federal government included billions of tax dollars in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act to improve internet access to more areas, the task of broadband mapping in Illinois is underway.
Turning Our Moment into Movement
Digital Inclusion Week is an annual week of awareness, recognition, and celebration. Organizations and individuals across the country host special events and campaigns to promote digital equity in their communities. This year’s theme is “Turning Our Moment into Movement,” signaling a turning point and time of action for the digital inclusion movement.
The Federal Communications Commission adopted rules to bring relief to incarcerated people with communication disabilities by easing the obstacles they face in communicating with family, loved ones, and other sources of support.
For states, broadband mapping is the hot topic in the quest to identify unserved and underserved areas. Collecting accurate, detailed information on who has, and more importantly, who doesn’t have a broadband connection will be essential in securing the maximum amount of Broadband Equity, Access and Deployment (BEAD) Program funding. North Carolina and Georgia have been proactive in collecting broadband coverage data and making it available to the public but have taken different approaches on how they have built their maps.