North Carolina Launches $24 Million Digital Equity Grant Program

Gov Roy Cooper (D-NC) is launching North Carolina's first digital equity grant program, which will help North Carolinians afford high-speed internet, obtain digital devices, and access digital literacy resources. The multi-phased program, administered by the NC Department of Information Technology’s Office of Digital Equity and Literacy, will invest up to $24 million of federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds for collaborative digital equity projects. The program’s first phase will invest $10 million in total funding to support 10-15 state government entities to develop or expand digi

Wyoming is in line to receive millions of dollars for expanding internet access

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) will host a workshop in Gillette, WY, on the $48 billion Broadband Equity, Access and Deployment (BEAD) funding to give everyone in the country internet access. The idea is to give local governments money to expand broadband services in so-called “digital deserts” where high-speed, reliable internet isn’t available. The funding comes from the $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA). The workshop is meant to give Wyoming leaders a heads-up on how to prepare for the funding.

Nextlink teams up with Tarana to deploy CBRS spectrum in rural areas

Gigabit broadband service is coming to communities and rural areas in 11 states: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, and Wisconsin through a partnership by Nextlink and Tarana. They expect to expand service to hundreds of rural counties over the next several years, covering over a quarter million households. Part of this ties back to the Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) licenses Nextlink picked up at auction in 2020.

Florida to Supreme Court: Let us regulate social networks as common carriers

The State of Florida asked the US Supreme Court to reinstate its social media regulation law that made it illegal for sites like Facebook and Twitter to ban politicians. Florida's petition said the Supreme Court should answer the questions of whether the First Amendment prohibits states "from requiring that social-media companies host third-party communications, and from regulating the time, place, and manner in which they do so," and whether the First Amendment prohibits states "from requiring social-media companies to notify and provide an explanation to their users when they censor the u

Biden-Harris Administration Awards $29.3 Million to the Native Village of Port Lions, Alaska

The Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) has awarded a $29.3 million Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program (TBCP) grant to the Native Village of Port Lions, Alaska. This grant will fund a new fiber-optic high-speed Internet network capable of Gigabit speeds. The proposed project will directly connect 930 unserved Native American households that previously had no connectivity to high-speed Internet as well as businesses and anchor institutions. NTIA has now made 70 awards totaling $755,737,402.24 in funding through the TBCP.

Overcoming the challenge of connecting rural AZ to broadband

Milan Eaton, director of the E-Rate program for the Arizona Department of Education, uses the federal program to install high-speed internet infrastructure in schools in remote areas across AZ. According to the White House, 14% of Arizonans live in areas with no broadband infrastructure at minimally acceptable speeds.

Biden-Harris Administration To Give $502 Million for High-Speed Internet in Rural Communities

The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) is awarding $502 million in loans and grants to provide high-speed internet access for rural residents and businesses in 20 states. USDA is making investments through the third funding round of the ReConnect Program. USDA is making 32 awards in Alabama, Alaska, California, Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Tennessee, Texas, and Wyoming.

Estakio Beltran named Washington State Broadband Office Digital Equity Manager

The Washington State Broadband Office in the Department of Commerce has hired Estakio Beltran to serve as Digital Equity Manager. Beltran comes to the job with significant experience working on equity policy, program development, and community-driven solutions to inequity. During more than a decade working in Washington DC, Beltran advised senior members of Congress and high-ranking officials as public policy professionals.

Connecting Low-Income Families Using Broadband Vouchers

Major federal broadband consumer subsidy programs that have been implemented, in the U.S. (the Lifeline, the Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB), and the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP)) are rebates administered through broadband providers. Yet, uptake in these programs among eligible households has been modest. Direct-to-consumer voucher subsidies have been widely applied to non-broadband social benefit programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), yet there is limited implementation for broadband.

Speed-Tests: Substitute for, or Complement to, Broadband Maps?

The Federal Communications Commission’s existing broadband availability maps have been heavily criticized as inaccurate, especially for the purpose of distributing billions in subsidy dollars to extend broadband networks to unserved areas. In a rush to distribute the National Telecommunication and Information Administration's (NTIA's) Broadband Equity, Access and Deployment (BEAD) subsidy dollars, a few states have initiated their own mapping efforts and some advocates have proposed alternative mapping means using speed-test data to identify areas that lack adequate broadband.