To bridge the digital divide, every American should have access to reliable and affordable high-speed broadband. To achieve true digital equity, however, every American must also have the resources to use it, including low-cost devices, tech support, and digital literacy training. Fortunately, Congress also recognized that ensuring access to broadband must include efforts that go beyond network deployment. The IIJA legislation specifically set aside $2.75 billion under the Digital Equity Act (DEA) to be administered by the NTIA for various digital equity programs.
CAIs like libraries, community centers, and schools are already champions of digital equity. They assist people with web-based research, offer training in digital literacy, conduct outreach to the community, and lend devices and equipment to students and other patrons. But they need funding and other resources to carry out these essential public services.
Comments of the Schools, Health & Libraries Broadband Coalition in Response to
the Request for Comments on the Development of Digital Equity Act Programs
Established by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law for Implementation by NTIA
May 1, 2023