National Skills Coalition (NSC) announced a partnership with Comcast to educate local, state, and national decision-makers about the benefits of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act to promote digital equity and opportunity nationwide. The initiative aims to help close the digital skill divide that is currently limiting educational and employment opportunities for nearly 50 million Americans.
State of Digital Inequity: Civil Society Perspectives on Barriers to Progress in our Digitizing World
A digital equity framework with five broad elements: Infrastructure, Affordability, Digital Skills, Policy, and Content. A global research study of over 7,500 civil society organizations (CSO), highlights include:
The US Department of Labor (DOL) is requesting information on successful approaches related to digital skills attainment and competency development in education and training efforts, the strategies our education and workforce development systems are employing to assess and ensure individuals are digitally resilient, and any challenges the education and public workforce systems are facing. DOL is also requesting information on strategies to advance digital equity and inclusion in the workforce.
The Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe recently was awarded an $18.7 million broadband grant courtesy of the Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA.) The grant comes from NTIA’s Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program. Leech Lake was one of only two Tribes to be a recipient of the program’s new grants, totaling more than $36 million.
It turns out there are two digital divides in America. The first one is the familiar divide between those who have Internet subscriptions and those who don’t. Everyone agrees this is a persistent concern, with about 10 percent of the public lacking subscriptions at the last count.
Improvements in our state broadband mapping data and related resources has revealed that we have more households and businesses without access to broadband than understood in 2021 (>198,000 with no service or insufficient service @ 25/3 and >291,000 @ 100/20). As the new Federal Communications Commission "fabric map" updates coverage through a challenge process, it is expected this number will reveal further deficits in coverage.
North Carolina’s rural population is larger than that of any other state except Texas. More than 4 million people live in rural North Carolina. Over the last 10 years, the population of 18- to 64-year-olds living in these areas has been decreasing, and the population of adults 65 and older is steadily increasing. In addition to these demographic changes, rural North Carolina communities face challenges related to workforce development, capital access, infrastructure, health, land use, and environment and community preservation.
Arlington County, Virginia, is surveying residents and businesses to understand how they use broadband internet service and if their access can be improved. The survey is part of a $250,000 study that could inform ways to bridge the digital divide between residents with good internet connectivity and those without it, using the county’s existing fiber-optic network, dubbed ConnectArlington.
As states begin to receive funds from the Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) Act, they need to lay the groundwork for high adoption and fiscal sustainability said Brookings Institute panelists. The majority of the BEAD program’s $42.5 billion in funding has yet to be disbursed, and state allocations are expected by June 2023.