Too many communities lack access to high-speed internet. Many more can't afford it or don't know how to use it. The divide between those who have internet access and those who don't is stark. To create an equitable economy, we all need access to reliable and affordable high-speed internet.
The Digital Equity Act provides $2.75 billion to establish three grant programs that promote digital equity and inclusion. They aim to ensure that all people and communities have the skills, technology, and capacity needed to reap the full benefits of our digital economy. The three programs are:
- State Digital Equity Planning Grant Program: A $60M formula grant program for states, territories and tribal governments to develop digital equity plans.
- State Digital Equity Capacity Grant Program: A $1.44 billion formula grant program for states, territories, and tribal governments. It will fund an annual grant program for five years in support of digital equity projects and the implementation of digital equity plans.
- Digital Equity Competitive Grant Program: A $1.25 billion grant program. It will fund annual grant programs for five years to implement digital equity projects.
The State Digital Equity Planning Grant Program is currently open. The other two programs will open later.
The State Digital Equity Planning Grant Program supports the creation of community-centric solutions. It provides resources to community organizations to help scale digital literacy programs. These programs give people the skills they need to effectively use the internet. We're looking for projects that promote meaningful adoption and use of high-speed internet service. Projects should aim to help the following groups:
- Low-income households
- Aging populations
- Incarcerated individuals
- People with disabilities
- People with language barriers
- Racial and ethnic minorities
- Rural inhabitants
Projects will be used to share best practices and show successful models of state-community partnerships.
Key questions to consider when preparing your application:
- How will the state engage with the groups that this program is designed to help? (For example, low-income households and racial and ethnic minorities.)
- How will this project serve communities of color and address historic lack of investment in underrepresented communities?
- How will this project increase meaningful internet adoption and use in communities?
- How long will it take to run this program?
Who Can Apply
The following government entities may apply to the State Digital Equity Planning Grant Program:
- Washington, D.C.
- Puerto Rico
- Other U.S. Territories
- Indian Tribes, Alaska Native entities, Native Hawaiian organizations
Governors must appoint an "administering entity." This entity must be one of, or a partnership between, the following:
- The state, or a political subdivision, agency, or instrumentality of the state
- An Indian Tribe, Alaska Native entity or Native Hawaiian organization located in the state
- A foundation, corporation, institution, association, or coalition that is a not-for-profit, not a school, and is providing services in the state
- A community anchor institution (not a school) located in the state
- A local educational agency located in the state
- An entity located in the state that carries out a workforce development program
- An agency of the state that is responsible for administering or supervising adult education and literacy activities in the state
- A public or multi-family housing authority located in the state
Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO)
May 13, 2022 - Application opens July 12, 2022 - Planning application or letter of intent due