Digital Equity Resources

Broadband Progress Report 2016 (FCC). The 2016 Broadband report reveals that there are significant improvements in broadband deployment, but the digital divide persists. Connectivity for schools has improved since the FCC modernized the E-rate program; however, 41% of schools still have not yet met the FCC’s short-term goals of 100 Mbps/1,000 students for connectivity capable of supporting digital learning.

ConnectALL. In 2016, President Obama launched the ConnectALL initiative to help Americans get online and have the tools to take full advantage of the internet. This program submitted recommendations to the FCC, encouraging that they reform a $1.5 billion per year phone subsidy program and turn it into a 21st century national broadband subsidy, to help low-income Americans get online. Alongside this FCC filing, the administration is releasing a new study on the economic importance of broadband.

CoSN Digital Equity Toolkit. In 2018, CoSN updated the Digital Equity Toolkit. This effort highlights how some school districts are building meaningful community partnerships and creating tools to help district leaders get started in achieving digital equity. The free toolkit highlights major strategies by school systems to address digital equity/homework gap.

Digital Opportunity Center. Leading efforts to close the digital divide for digital equity, to alleviate poverty, and to address other vital social challenges.

FCC Expands Rural Broadband. The FCC took steps toward investing an additional $2 billion in rural networks over the next decade when the Commission adopted items to establish market forces to expand broadband in targeted rural areas through an auction. The auction seeks to expand service to census blocks unserved by broadband, delivering speeds of 10 Mbps downloads/1 Mbps uploads in 20 states where the price cap carriers declined last year’s Connect America Fund offer. Also included in the auction are locations across the country with extremely high deployment costs.

NTIA engages in a range of efforts to increase broadband Internet access and adoption. NTIA’s BroadbandUSA program serves communities, industry and nonprofits that want to expand broadband infrastructure and promote digital inclusion. BroadbandUSA’s services are driven by the needs and interests of state and local broadband leaders, and focus on encouraging private partnerships, supporting planning efforts, helping to identify funding, and implementing public-private broadband partnerships. NTIA also conducts research and analysis into broadband usage and adoption through our Digital Nation initiative.

Next Century Cities is a project of New Venture Fund, a 501(c) (3) public charity. Next Century Cities supports community leaders across the country in developing gigabit level internet to attract new business and create jobs, improve education and health care, and connect residents to new opportunities. Since 2014, Next Century Cities is now helping 144 cities across the US to build next- generation internet networks to support their communities.

Schools, Health & Libraries Coalition. The Schools, Health & Libraries (SHLB) coalition supports affordable, high-capacity broadband connections for anchor institutions and their surrounding communities. SHLB also supports federal initiatives to support broadband and works with the FCC to promote capital investment in the E-rate reform.

TestIT: How Fast is Your Broadband. The National Association of Counties (NACo), the Rural Community Assistance Partnership (RCAP) and Rural LISC (Local Initiatives Support Corporation) have partnered to address the critical need for affordable high-speed internet for rural communities across the country. Together, the three organizations developed a mobile app that gives mobile phone users the power to accurately identify areas with low or no internet connectivity and share that information to push for change. 

The Next Generation Network Connectivity Handbook, July 2015 (Gig.U). he Next Generation Network Connectivity Handbook is primarily focused on community-led broadband, usually through a public-private partnership. For example, a city negotiates with a private entity to design, deploy, maintain, and/or operate a broadband network.

The Quilt. The Quilt is a national coalition of regional networks for research and education, representing 36 networks. Participants in The Quilt provide advanced network services and applications to universities and other educational institutions. The Quilt facilitates collaboration; advocates for regional networks, and helps regional networks leverage buying power.


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