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)

Vermont Congressional Delegation Announces First USDA ReConnect Grant to Vermont

Senators Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Peter Welch (D-VT) and Representative Becca Balint (D-VT) announced that NEK Community Broadband (NEKCB) will receive Vermont’s first-ever United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) ReConnect grant to deploy a fiber-to-the-premises network in Caledonia, Essex, and Orleans counties in Vermont.

Will Congress Fund the ACP?

The clock is ticking on the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP). Current estimates show the program may run out of funding as soon as the end of the first quarter in 2024. The only solution for keeping ACP operating is for Congress to refill the ACP funding bucket somehow. Angela Siefer of the National Digital Inclusion Alliance said that reauthorizing ACP was one of the biggest broadband issues on the plate for Congress. She talked about the many gains that have been made in getting broadband to low-income homes.

What did NTIA's Office of Internet Connectivity and Growth Accomplish in 2022?

The Office of Internet Connectivity and Growth (OICG) is housed within the Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA). Congress created OICG in the ACCESS BROADBAND Act of 2021, part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021, to oversee all broadband activity at NTIA and lead federal efforts to fund and expand broadband access across the country.

Charter Has Received Funding for 260,000 More Rural Builds Since Big RDOF Win

Charter has received funding to cover some of the costs of deploying broadband to 260,000 more rural locations from state and “other” sources, said Charter CEO Chris Winfrey. And there likely will be more to come. “Our BEAD chances are very good,” said Winfrey, in a reference to the upcoming $42.5 billion Broadband Equity Access and Deployment (BEAD) Program. The company was one the largest winners in the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) auction, which awarded funding for an area to the company that committed to deploying service for the lowest level of government support.

Affordable Connectivity Program Recertification

Recertification is an annual requirement for Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) subscribers. Service providers with Federal Communications Commission-approved alternative verification processes or that use a school-based eligibility verification process for the national school lunch or breakfast program must conduct recertification for those subscribers. For all other ACP subscribers, the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) conducts recertification to ensure that ACP subscribers are still eligible for the benefit.

USDA Funds 36 Projects Aimed at Connecting Families to WIC through Partnership with FRAC as part of Investing in America Agenda

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), through a cooperative agreement with USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) and the Food Research & Action Center (FRAC), has awarded $16 million in subgrants funding from the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 to 36 projects aimed at testing innovative outreach strategies to increase participation and equity in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children, known as WIC.

Workforce development is a crucial part of digital equity

As the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) prepares to release the first tranche of state allocations of broadband funds in 2023, one of the statutory requirements mandates workforce development as an important program outcome, especially in the rebuilding and expanding of national infrastructure. The Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) program has also implemented a number of requirements that, according to its Workforce Pl

Senators Welch and Marshall Introduce ReConnecting Rural America Act to Expand Access to Broadband in Rural Communities

Sens Peter Welch (D-VT) and Roger Marshall (R-KS)  introduced the bipartisan ReConnecting Rural America Act, legislation to reauthorize and reinforce the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) ReConnect Loan and Grant Program.

CEO Brian Roberts admits Comcast hasn’t competed well for low-end broadband

Billions of dollars are about to flow from the Broadband Equity Access & Deployment (BEAD) Program, which is driving all kinds of interest in delivering fiber broadband to unserved and underserved areas of the US. In addition, the wireless carriers, T-Mobile and Verizon, are deploying fixed wireless access (FWA) in many underserved areas where people have never been happy with their choices of low-speed cable or DSL. Comcast CEO Brian Roberts said, “I don't think we competed as well for the lower end of the market.

ACP Enrollment Performance Tool: Understanding Factors that Play a Role in ACP Enrollment

Recently we launched the Benton Institute’s Affordable Connectivity Program Enrollment Performance Tool, a free resource that helps communities answer the question: “How are ACP sign-ups going?” Using the tool to search 5-digit zip codes delivers two important numbers:  1) how many households have signed up for ACP and 2) the expected number of households enrolled. Comparing expected enrollment to actual enrollment is a measure of performance.