Individuals with a Language Barrier

For the First Time, All States will have a Plan to Address Digital Equity

All 50 States, DC, and Puerto Rico have submitted their Digital Equity Plans to NTIA for acceptance. This is a milestone moment in closing the digital divide. For the first time in our nation’s history, each state will have a plan to connect communities with the resources they need to achieve digital equity. That’s never been true before, and it’s an exciting indicator of how far we’ve come as a nation in acknowledging and addressing this challenge.

Hawai'i Digital Equity Plan

The vision of the Digital Equity Plan for Hawaiʻi will be the overarching guide that will steer the direction of all strategies, objectives, and actions in this plan. As remote work, online learning, telehealth services, and virtual interactions became essential, individuals and communities faced immense obstacles getting digitally connected. These challenges will continue without high quality Internet access, adequate tools, and the necessary digital literacy skills.

Why Leading with Digital Equity Matters

Maine is the first state in the country to have its Digital Equity Plan approved by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA). This is a major accomplishment in that this represents the first statewide Digital Equity Plan to ever be developed for our state (and the first tied to the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act—also known as Bipartisan Infrastructure Law). And, it is fitting that our Digital Equity Plan can now be put into motion ahead of any infrastructure deployed through the Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) Program.

Sustaining the Movement and Funding: The Future of Digital Inclusion

We have 1,300 people at Net Inclusion 2024 in Philadelphia. We’ve secured $2.75 billion from the Digital Equity Act. And this is just the beginning. It has to be just the beginning. So how do we sustain this movement? The answer to sustainability lies in robust digital inclusion ecosystems. They’re the key to HOLISTIC digital inclusion. Digital equity is the goal, and digital inclusion ecosystems lead us there by weaving together digital inclusion activities happening across your communities. These 6 strategies will help sustain our movement and field:

Federal Communications Commissioner Gomez Remarks on Proceedings Impacting Consumers at February Meeting

At today’s meeting, I voted on two consumer issues—to ask cable programmers, and television and radio stations for their help to achieve the critical goal of providing timely information about emergencies to the public, in a language they can understand; and to clarify that consumers can opt-out of call or text lists using any reasonable means and may respond in the language in which they received the communication.

FCC Proposes Solution to Expand Multilingual Emergency Alerts

The Federal Communications Commission proposed rules that would make it easier for emergency managers to send emergency alerts in non-English languages to the public over television and radio. The proposal would remove a key barrier to sending multilingual messages through the Emergency Alert System, which could in turn spur more alerts that are accessible to more people—and potentially save lives. In a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking adopted February 15, the Commission is seeking comment on proposals to:

FCC Seeks Comment on Multilingual Wireless Emergency Alerts

The Federal Communications Commission's Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau seeks comment on specific mechanisms to implement multilingual Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA). Through these measures, the Bureau advances the priority that WEA serve as an effective and accessible life-saving tool for many, including the millions of people living in the United States who do not primarily speak English or Spanish and the estimated one-in-four adults in the United States that have some form of disability who remain at risk for not being able to receive and understand the potentially life-savi

Maine Leads Nation with First Plan To Close the Digital Divide

Maine is the first state in the country to have its Digital Equity Plan approved by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration. The plan outlines the steps the state will take to expand access to high-speed, reliable internet and break down barriers to connections, especially for populations most impacted by the digital divide. Its approval is the first step for Maine to qualify for Digital Equity Act funding, resulting in an estimated allocation between $12 million and $14 million.

SC Digital Opportunity Department Submits Digital Equity Plan

On February 12, 2024, the Digital Opportunity Department (DOD) of the South Carolina Office of Regulatory Staff submitted its Digital Equity Plan to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA). This five-year Plan is designed to help bridge the digital divide through enhanced broadband adoption and use. Its goals are to enhance the following:

What's Your State's Digital Equity Plan?

To achieve true digital equity, deploying broadband to every household in the United States will not be enough. What is also needed are robust, comprehensive programs that address the human side of closing the digital divide and ensuring everyone has access to the technologies, skills, and opportunities necessary to thrive. Over the last seven months and with funding from the Digital Equity Act's State Digital Equity Planning Grant Program, all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico have released draft digital equity plans for public review and comment.