NTIA Digital Equity Webinar Series: Digital Equity for Small and Rural Communities

Broadband connectivity can help small and rural communities become more economically competitive and create opportunities for sustained and prosperous growth. This webinar will look at the unique challenges small and rural communities face and innovative solutions that are improving access and digital equity in these communities.

Date/Time: Thursday, June 27, 2:00pm-3:00pm ET

NITA’s Notice of Funding Opportunity Published

Bringing Digital Equity to Every Corner of America: A Summary of the NTIA’s State Digital Equity Capacity Grant FY24 Grant Program

In today’s digital age, being connected online is no longer a luxury—it’s a necessity for education, healthcare, jobs, and more. However, not everyone has equal access to this digital world, which is why the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) has stepped up with an exciting opportunity: the State Digital Equity Capacity Grant Program. Here’s what you need to know:

  • The Goal: The program aims to close the digital divide, ensuring everyone, especially those from underserved communities, has access to reliable, affordable broadband and the skills to use it.
  • Who’s Eligible? All 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and U.S. territories can apply. They’ll need a Digital Equity Plan to be eligible.
  • The Funding: There’s $2.75 billion waiting to be awarded, aimed at supporting digital inclusion activities across America.
  • Key Dates: For states, including DC and Puerto Rico, applications are due by May 28, 2024. U.S. territories have until July 31, 2024. Native entities, including Indian Tribes and Alaska Native entities, can apply between September 25, 2024, and February 7, 2025.
  • What Can the Money Be Used For? Funds can support various activities, such as updating or maintaining digital equity plans, implementing these plans, and making subgrants for digital inclusion activities. However, there are restrictions to ensure the funds are used effectively and directly benefit those in need.
  • The Big Picture: This isn’t just about getting everyone online; it’s about empowering all Americans to participate fully in our society and economy. Digital equity is seen as crucial for everything from job opportunities to healthcare access, educational resources, and more.
  • Why It Matters: The digital divide has kept too many Americans from reaching their full potential. By addressing this issue head-on, the NTIA is taking a significant step toward a more inclusive future where everyone has the chance to succeed in the digital age.

So, whether you’re involved in state or local government, part of a non-profit working in digital inclusion, or simply a concerned citizen, this is a moment of opportunity. It’s a chance to bridge gaps, open doors, and ensure that the digital future is bright and equitable for all.

Oregon Broadband Equity Coalition Launch Meeting – February 22, 2-3pm PST

OSULink Oregon, and Rural Prosperity Partners  announce the launch of the statewide Oregon Broadband Equity Coalition (OBEC).

The OBEC meeting will be on Thursday, February 22, 2024 at 2:00 p.m. It will be held over Zoom and is free and open to anyone interested in Digital Equity work. No registration required.

OBEC is a consortium of organizations, community members, business, government, educational institutions and Tribal representatives working together to promote and bring about digital equity.

The purpose of the coalition is to collaboratively work on digital equity issues, including: 

  • Broadband Affordability
  • Internet Accessibility
  • Digital Device Availability
  • Tech support & Training
  • Digital Literacy

OBEC will also be advocating for digital equity at the county, state, regional and national level.

Coalition meetings will be held monthly over Zoom on the 4th Thursday of each month from 2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.

For more information about the coalition, you can visit the OBEC website or contact Victor Villegas, Broadband & Digital Technologies Adoption Coordinator at Oregon State University Extension Service.