State Digital Equity Planning Grant 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:

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 State Leaders Need to Know about Measuring Digital Skills: Options and Opportunities

As implementation of the $2.75 billion federal Digital Equity Act gets underway, state broadband officials and other policymakers are hurrying to put plans in place to measure the impact of these new investments. A key area of focus is digital skills—how to measure the baseline of residents’ current skills, what data digital skills program providers will need to collect and report on, how to set targets for improvement, and more. The field has not yet coalesced around a single list of digital skills that all individuals should possess.

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.

Connectivity in the Commonwealth: Virginia's Plan

The Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development's (DHCD) Office of Broadband released its draft Digital Opportunity Plan to the public. The plan is a first-of-its-kind undertaking to assess all facets of the digital divide in the Commonwealth and develop a strategy to close it.

A Wholistic Digital Equity Plan for Rhode Island

On January 9, the Rhode Island Commerce Corporation and ConnectRI initiative released the draft Rhode Island Digital Equity Plan for public comment. Through this plan, the Commerce Corporation is working to ensure that investment in digital equity efforts produces wholistic results—including widespread digital literacy and access to necessary devices as well as affordable, reliable, fast connectivity.

Digital Skills and Accessibility in Mississippi

The Mississippi Office of Broadband Expansion and Accessibility of Mississippi (BEAM) released its draft State Digital Skills and Accessibility (DSA) Plan for a 30-day public comment period on January 5, 2024. The Mississippi DSA Plan outlines how BEAM will work towards ensuring broadband accessibility, affordability, digital skills training, and digital opportunities for all citizens.

52 Visions of Digital Equity—Your State Has One

All 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico have drafted their digital equity plans and sought public input on how to improve their strategies to ensure that every community has the capacity needed for full participation in our increasingly connectivity-dependent society, democracy, and economy. As part of their plans, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) has asked states to provide a clear, specific picture of their visions for digital equity.