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North Carolina Unveils Template for Digital Inclusion Plans

The broadband office of the North Carolina Department of Information Technology has released a template to help municipalities design localized plans for connecting families with reliable Internet and device access.

A word cloud featuring the words "digital divide" and related terms.
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North Carolina’s Broadband Infrastructure Office released its Digital Inclusion Plan Template and Guide this week to help local governments create plans for closing the state's digital divide.

According to the department, the guide is a reference for municipalities to design their own plans for managing their tech and infrastructural needs and assets. So far, officials said, 14 communities throughout the state have used the template to formulate initiatives to “level the playing field” for families who don't have the broadband access and devices necessary for remote work and schooling.

“As the necessity of the Internet has increased, so have the inequities for people who do not have access to or cannot afford the technologies, tools and skills needed to participate in our digital world,” North Carolina CIO Jim Weaver said in a news release. “Closing this digital divide and achieving digital equity is critical for our residents and our state to thrive.”

The guide comes a year after the Broadband Infrastructure Office partnered with the Institute for Emerging Issues (IEI) to launch its Building a New Digital Economy in NC (BAND-NC) grant program, which funds local digital inclusion plans. 

“We are excited for the official launch of BIO’s Digital Inclusion Plan Template and Guide,” IEI Director Leslie Boney said in the news release. “We hope that communities applying for grants in this upcoming round of the BAND-NC grants will use this resource to create digital inclusion plans to benefit their residents.”

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