All 50 States receive Federal Internet Planning Grants

This week in ‘What’s New in Digital Capital’ – our weekly look at government digital capital and broadband news – we have a number of interesting items, which you can link to below:


The federal government has now awarded all planning grants to all 50 states, according to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration.

This federal money is intended to support statewide efforts to deploy new or more affordable high-speed Internet networks, as well as to develop digital skills training programs. What’s happening now is that the states will use the funds to develop plans and proposals that they will present to the federal government, which then plans to allocate more money to implement those plans.

It’s all part of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which provides $65 billion for high-speed Internet. As part of that, the act called for $2.75 billion to channel what space advocates described as historic investment into digital capital.

How this plays out varies by state. In Massachusetts, for example, a total of more than $1 million in funding will go toward digital capital, which officials there say will allow the state to hire a digital capital expert, develop a statewide digital capital plan, and work with higher education institutions on the issue. , as well as partner with the National Alliance for Digital Inclusion on advice and best practices.

News about where all that money is going and how it will be spent is sure to continue to develop throughout the new year, with advocates in the space saying it represents a historic investment, but how the money will be spent. quantify the progress the country has made in helping all residents participate in our increasingly digital society. (Zack Quaintance)


A recently passed bill cleared the way for the Office of the Chief Technology Officer in Washington to continue building a digital equity division.

The bill, first introduced in April 2021, was unanimously passed by the city council in December. It was sent to the mayor’s office for signing before the scheduled time on January 18. It would codify reporting on Internet access in D.C. and require the District to work toward ensuring that all residents have access to high-speed Internet at home.

Part of the division’s work will be to identify and subsequently remove digital capital barriers. Other requirements include a report on the city’s participation in federal programs aimed at combating the digital divide, as well as a study on the feasibility of federal funding for fiber and broadband infrastructure, which is due within a year of the bill’s passage.

As reported in this space last year, Washington has been working on digital inclusion for some time. The office is now codified as part of that bill, but was first created in May. (Zack Quaintance)


A new map created by the Purdue Center for Regional Development (PCRD) explores the digital capital in Indiana. The map used 12 variables: rural areas, minorities, veterans, poverty, disabled, 60 and older, limited English, foreign nationals, households with mobile data only, households without internet, households with mobile devices only, and households without computing devices farms. For each variable, the census tracts were rated as low, medium, or high.

Based on these variables, the visualization breaks down the state by census tracts and identifies tracts with high populations for multiple variables in dark blue. Dark blue census tracts on the map represent “hotspots” to help focus digital equity efforts on communities most in need.

“Our recent numbers help identify areas ripe for digital equity interventions in Indiana due to digital inequality and a higher share of the population covered (by the Digital Equity Act),” said PCRD Director Roberto Gallardo. tweet. (Julia Edinger)


The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is extending the comment period for broadband consumer labels, an initiative aimed at bringing more transparency to the payment process for high-speed internet.

The comment period on this issue was originally due on January 17, and the response was later due on February 14. The new extension is 30 days, which means that the first period will now end on February 16, with response comments. On March 23.

The expansion announcement notes that the initial period coincides with the busy December holiday season. (Zack Quaintance)


Application windows will close soon for the Affordable Connectivity Grant Program (ACP Outreach Grant Program) and two pilot programs. The ACP Broadcast Grant Program was established by the Federal Communications Commission in November 2022 to increase awareness of the Affordable Connectivity Program. This program provides grant funding for additional programs.

Applications for the ACP Outreach Grant Program are due by January 9th at 11:59 PM EST and can be submitted through

In addition, completed applications for your Home, Internet Pilot Program, and ACP Navigator Pilot Program must be submitted through by 9:00 PM EST on January 9th. (Julia Edinger)


Experts are increasingly concerned about the digital divide and how dangerous it can be when it comes to warning systems for weather and climate emergencies.

Recent studies have found that “a lack of available crisis information or a poorly managed information flow” can contribute to disaster response failures. A 2017 report by the Wireless Infrastructure Association also states that “lack of robust infrastructure can lead to significant disparities in the emergency services available to rural residents.”

In an emergency, state, local and tribal officials can use Wireless Emergency Alerts to send messages to cellphones, but there’s room for improvement in this part of the digital capital puzzle. (Julia Edinger)

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