Marginalized Populations

Marginalized populations are those excluded from mainstream social, economic, educational, and/or cultural life. Examples of marginalized populations include, but are not limited to, groups excluded due to race, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, physical ability, language, and/or immigration status.

(August 19, 2022)

Digital training program helping incarcerated people gain key skills

Individuals who have served prison time previously had to wait until their release to quickly learn how to use smartphones, conduct Zoom calls and other means of high-tech communication. That in turn created an extra challenge in a tech-savvy world, as employers conduct their job application processes online. Now, inmates won’t have to wait until they’re released to learn the ins and outs of today’s technology.

Starlink begins providing high-speed satellite internet in Alaska

SpaceX has launched Starlink in Alaska. Alaskans who have signed up for the service said they’re eager to try it. Some expect Starlink to provide faster, cheaper service than GCI, the state’s largest telecommunications company. But Starlink is just one of several ongoing efforts that could transform telecommunications in the state, where more than 200 villages lack city-quality internet service. North Pole resident Bert Somers said that he’d give the service a B so far. 

Progress being made to close digital divide in Manistee, Michigan

The digital divide is narrowing in Manistee County, Michigan, according to internet provider Spectrum — a division of Charter Communications. Spectrum is in the process of expanding its services in rural parts of the state through a combination of public-private partnerships and internal investment. Roughly $10 million is being invested in Manistee County to bring unserved homes and businesses up to speed. Funding is made possible through the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF), an initiative of the Federal Communications Commission, along with an additional $8.2 million investment by Cha

Treasury Empowers Iowa's Push for Universal Broadband Access

Over the years, Iowa's demand for broadband infrastructure far outstripped the funding the state has been willing to supply. But the state is allocating millions in federal funding to help it reach its broadband goals. The latest funding comes from the U.S. Treasury's Capital Projects Fund.

FCC Grants First 2.5 GHz Auction Licenses

The Federal Communications Commission's Wireless Telecommunications Bureau granted the first batch of new, flexible-use, county-based overlay wireless licenses made available in the 2.5 GHz auction, Auction 108. With most of the available spectrum in the 2.5 GHz band located in rural areas, this auction provides vital spectrum resources to support wireless services in rural communities. The FCC granted 51 of the 68 total long-form applications received from winning bidders in Auction 108, following a thorough review of the applications and a period of public comment.

The VA used supplemental COVID funding from three different bills to support expanded telehealth services and remote operations during the worst of the pandemic.

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) received approximately $36.70 billion in supplemental funding outside of its annual appropriation from three COVID-19 relief laws between 2020 and 2021: the CARES Act; the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA); and the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA). As of August 23, 2022, VA had obligated approximately 99 percent of its funds from the CARES Act and FFCRA and 56.9 percent of funds from ARPA.

RUS Accepting Distance Learning and Telemedicine Grant Applications

President Joe Biden has pledged that every American will have access to affordable, reliable, high-speed internet. Digital equity—devices, skills and affordability that bring the internet to life—are a critical part of that mission. As part of that work, the Rural Utilities Service (RUS), a Rural Development (RD) agency of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), announces the acceptance of applications under the Distance Learning and Telemedicine (DLT) grant program for Fiscal Year (FY) 2023, subject to the availability of funding.

Missouri Using 100% of Capital Projects Fund Allocation for Broadband

On December 1, 2022, the U.S. Treasury approved Missouri’s plan to dedicate all of its Capital Projects Fund allocation to extend the reach of broadband in the state. Agriculture is Missouri’s leading economic driver. Over 95,000 farms employ nearly 400,000 people, export more than $2.5 billion across the globe, and make economic contributions to the state of $88.4 billion. Missouri is second in the number of farms in the United States and ranks in the top 10 nationally for the production of eleven different agricultural products.

Biden-Harris Administration Awards More Than $5.5 Million to Hawaii in ‘Internet for All’ Planning Grants

The Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) announced that Hawaii received its first “Internet for All” grants for deploying high-speed Internet networks and developing digital skills training programs under the Biden-Harris Administration’s Internet for All initiative.

Senators Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Increase Access to Rural Broadband

Sens. John Thune (R-SD), Ben Ray Luján (D-NM), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), and Deb Fischer (R-NE) introduced the Rural Internet Improvement Act. This bipartisan legislation would streamline and bolster US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development broadband programs and ensure that their funding is being targeted to rural areas that need it the most. The legislation would: