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For the First Time, All States will have a Plan to Address Digital Equity

By Angela Thi Bennett, Director of Digital Equity, NTIA

Today, all 50 States, D.C., and Puerto Rico have submitted their Digital Equity Plans to NTIA for acceptance. This is a milestone moment in closing the digital divide. For the first time in our nation’s history, each state will have a plan to connect communities with the resources they need to achieve digital equity. That’s never been true before, and it’s an exciting indicator of how far we’ve come as a nation in acknowledging and addressing this challenge. 

Right now, we’re working to review and accept all of the state plans as we prepare to launch two grant programs this year. Today we also announced that we accepted Delaware, Idaho, Louisiana, Puerto Rico, and West Virginia’s Digital Equity plans, bringing our total to six states. We will continue to accept plans on a rolling basis.  

This is a big year for digital equity where we’ll start investing millions of dollars to empower communities with the skills, devices, and capacity needed for people to thrive online. This year alone, nearly $800 million will be available to states through our State Capacity Grant program when we launch our first funding opportunity this year.  

Along the way, we are not losing sight of why this work matters. In an increasingly digital world, communities need access to affordable, reliable, high-speed Internet, regardless of their background or circumstances. But it is not enough to only provide a connection: people also need the tools to thrive in these digital spaces.  

By bridging the digital divide with inclusive, thoughtful, and systematic interventions, individuals can be empowered with universal access to education, economic mobility, healthcare, and other essential services that enable them to fully participate in society and our economy. 

Simultaneously, we recognize and prioritize the importance of human connections, ensuring that technology serves to enhance, rather than replace, our social bonds and sense of community.  

Because as Americans, we understand that our strength lies in coming together, bridging divides, and embracing the values of inclusivity, equity, and unity.