Healthcare Facilities

Developing Digital Skills and Opportunity in Arkansas

The purpose of the Arkansas Digital Skills and Opportunity Plan is to outline an actionable path forward to make digital opportunity an economic benefit and reality for all Arkansans. This plan will position the state’s residents to pursue cross-sectoral economic growth through broadband-related, nondeployment activities and enhance workforce development. The draft plan is open for public comment until January 25, 2024. ARConnect has a detailed vision for achieving digital opportunity in Arkansas: 

Minnesota Office of Broadband Development 2023 Annual Report

The Office of Broadband Development (OBD) is located in the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development. OBD was created by statute in 2013 and just completed its tenth year of work on its mission to improve access to broadband service that meets the state’s speed goals, serving the needs of anchor institutions, and expanding the skills and knowledge needed to use these services. Border-to-Border high speed internet access is the goal throughout Minnesota. 2023 milestones for the Office included:

FloridaCommerce Announces More Than $13 Million Available in Broadband Grant Funding to Equip Communities with Digital Devices

FloridaCommerce announced that more than $13 million in broadband grant funding is available through the Capital Projects Fund Digital Connectivity Technology Program to connect communities with digital devices. The program connects communities in need of broadband Internet access with funds for devices and equipment for digital workforce, education, and healthcare opportunities — like applying for a job, securing a degree, and attending a telehealth appointment.

A Vision and a Mission for Digital Equity in North Carolina

The North Carolina Department of Information Technology’s (NCDIT) Division of Broadband and Digital Equity developed the North Carolina draft Digital Equity Plan. This plan is a comprehensive strategy that aims to ensure all individuals and communities have access to the digital tools, resources, and skills they need to participate fully in the digital environment.

Looking ahead: Will Universal Service Fund reform finally happen?

The Universal Service Fund (USF) – which financially supports several of the Federal Communications Commission's high-cost and low-income broadband programs, at roughly $8 billion annually – has been going through a tough time. This past year saw the USF dragged before federal court in cases brought by a conservative public interest group questioning the fund's legality. The Fifth and Sixth Circuit courts initially ruled against the petitioners, but the Fifth Circuit then agreed to hear the case en banc in September and has yet to rule.

Working Towards Digital Equity in DC

Growth, equity, education, workforce opportunities, access to government services, and sustainability. Each of these values—and many of the actions that can be taken to achieve them—can be enhanced by equitable access to high-speed internet, and a population equipped with the digital skills to productively use computers and the internet.

Healey-Driscoll Administration Awards $20 Million to Boost Digital Equity

The Healey-Driscoll Administration and the Massachusetts Broadband Institute (MBI) at MassTech announced $20 million in new grants through the state’s Digital Equity Partnerships Program, which supports high-impact and scalable initiatives that reach residents most affected by the digital divide.

Department of the Treasury Announces Approval of Federal Funds to Improve Workforce Training, Education, and Health Monitoring in Washington, DC

The Department of the Treasury announced the approval of $22.5 million in federal funds for a multi-purpose community facility providing health care, education, and workforce services in Washington (DC) as a part of President Biden’s Investing in America Agenda. These federal resources will go towards the expansion of Whitman-Walker’s Max Robinson Center at the St.

The Seven Broadband Gaps

Where are we in terms of closing the seven gaps that we think of, or should think of, as the elements of the digital divide? The seven gaps are the rural access gap, the affordability gap, the operating gap of very high-cost rural providers, the adoption gap, the institutional gap, the cable/copper gap, and the utilization gap. We could be using the network to improve outcomes in education, health care, government services, public safety, carbon reduction, civic engagement, and other public purposes. But to do achieve those goals, we need to close all seven broadband gaps.

Internet price, speed, and disparity: The case of rural healthcare providers in the United States

Healthcare providers (HCPs) and patients are increasingly relying on telehealth services (healthcare provision over the internet) to provide and seek care. It turns internet access disparities into a health equity concern, i.e., poor internet access can contribute to poor health. In response, two Federal Communications Commission programs in the United States—Healthcare Connect Fund and the Telecom Program—subsidize internet access for HCPs in rural or remote areas.