Digital Literacy

Half of ACP-Eligible Households Still Unaware of the Program

After a year of operation, half of all households eligible for the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) internet subsidy are unaware of the benefit. A January 2023 survey of low-income households finds that over 50% say they have never heard of the program or do not know anything about it. Although many eligible households are unaware of ACP, the survey points to ways in which policymakers and community leaders can encourage enrollment. First, outreach can make a difference.

Kentucky seeks public comment on its Digital Equity Plan

The Kentucky Office of Systems Equity in partnership with the Office of Broadband seeks public input on the draft of Kentucky’s first Digital Equity Plan. Obtaining input from Kentuckians on high-speed internet expansion and digital access throughout the commonwealth is part of the federal funding process.

Cleveland moves forward $20 million plan to expand broadband

The City of Cleveland (OH) is moving forward with Mayor Justin Bibb’s $20 million plan to expand broadband throughout the city. The revised plan would allocate $20 million of American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) dollars to local nonprofit DigitalC to expand affordable broadband.

Wisconsin Releases Draft Digital Equity Plan for Public Comment

The Public Service Commission of Wisconsin (PSC) released the draft Wisconsin Digital Equity Plan for public comment. Once approved by the PSC, the Digital Equity Plan will guide the state’s strategy to improve digital equity, ensuring all in Wisconsin have the skills, devices, and broadband service necessary to fully participate in society and the economy. After the public comment period, the PSC will review the public comments and finalize the plan during an open meeting for submission to the National Telecommunications Information Administration (NTIA).

Illinois launches statewide digital navigator program

The Illinois Broadband Lab launched a statewide cohort of digital navigator fellows to plan and coordinate digital equity programs at the local level.

Charter Awards $1 Million to 2023 Spectrum Digital Education Grant Recipients

Charter Communications awarded $1.1 million to 46 nonprofit organizations through its Spectrum Digital Education grant program. Charter has committed more than $9 million total to the initiative, which supports broadband technology programs, education, and training in unserved and underserved communities throughout Charter’s service area.

Washington State Sets Digital Equity Goals

The Washington State Broadband Office released its draft Digital Equity Plan in September, giving the public a full 60 days to submit comments and feedback. This wide berth for civic participation reflects the state's vision of ensuring every Washingtonian has affordable broadband and the tools to participate in our digital society. Here's a look at how exactly Washington plans to achieve its vision, and what this means for state residents experiencing the digital divide.

Challenges to Achieving Digital Equity for Incarcerated Individuals

Through a series of acquisitions and mergers over three decades, prison technology companies like JPay and Global Tel Link (GTL) have dominated the prison telecommunications space, effectively becoming virtual monopolies. Anticompetitive practices have allowed corporations to gouge families with high prices and ancillary fees for prison phone calls, a practice that reportedly left one in three inmate families in debt.

Washington State Broadband Office awards $14.5 million to provide one-on-one technical support, devices, and subscriptions to facilitate internet use and adoption

The Washington State Department of Commerce committed $14.5 million in grants to continue expanding access to the internet through digital navigator services. These grants were awarded to three organizations:

Community College of Baltimore County program to get more homes connected to internet

Comcast and the Community College of Baltimore County (CCBC) launched a Digital Navigator program that will utilize trained students to get more Baltimore-area residents and CCBC students connected to the internet at home, while also teaching digital literacy skills and how to use devices. The program is supported by a $150,000 grant from Comcast that will be used to hire and train nearly a dozen CCBC students. The CCBC Digital Navigators will focus on addressing barriers households face to getting online, namely affordability, access to devices, and digital skills.