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What's New in Digital Equity: Colorado Launches Broadband Mapping Hub

Plus, more states are holding in-person events to stoke citizen participation in their connectivity work, President Biden's long-delayed fifth FCC commissioner nominee gets a hearing, and more.

This week in “What’s New in Digital Equity” — our weekly look at government digital equity and broadband news — we have a number of interesting items, which you can jump to with the links below:


The newly unveiled Broadband Mapping Hub from the Colorado Broadband Office (CBO) aims to simplify the process of accessing broadband-related resources. The platform offers a complete resource for stakeholders — Internet Service Providers, schools, communities, businesses and individuals — to use in broadband planning, finding partnerships and applying for funding through the state.

“We’ve covered a lot of ground, asking communities and industry what they need to improve broadband in Colorado,” CBO Executive Director Brandy Reitter said in the announcement. “They overwhelmingly said they need resources to develop broadband plans, find partnerships and navigate federal funding.”

The Hub features a new map of broadband coverage, with which users can find coverage and speed information for specific addresses, municipalities, counties, school districts, legislative districts or regions.

In addition, the Hub’s Grant Awards Dashboard provides an overview of CBO grants so users can see awards that have been made and the progress of those projects that have been awarded grant funding. Users can filter by area of interest, project status or funding program. The Hub’s Grant Discovery Portal allows grant applicants to view eligibility guidelines and find resources to help them apply.

The Hub offers an overview of the state of broadband in Colorado, including Internet speeds and proposed projects. Users can find the state’s authoritative data sources to better understand the context of the information on the Hub. Users are also able to test and share information about their home or business Internet speed using the Broadband Survey and Speed Test feature.

All these features aim to help support the state’s plan to connect 99 percent of Colorado households to high-speed broadband by 2027. (Julia Edinger)


Colorado is far from the only state centering broadband expansion as a priority this year, as was made clear in the 2023 State of the State addresses. As such, broadband listening tours are trending, something evidenced by the Kansas Office of Broadband Development launching the Kansas Broadband Roadshow.

Office staff will travel around the state, hosting events at 25 to 30 locations to listen to and learn from Kansans about Internet availability and need. Through these events, the office will take note of concerns of communities that have historically been disproportionately impacted by the digital divide, such as racial and ethnic minorities, incarcerated individuals and veterans.

The goal of this listening tour is to help inform the state’s planning and distribution decisions to maximize the impact of funding. (Julia Edinger)


Kansas is not the only state trying to share and receive information about broadband initiatives and public need; the Delaware Department of Technology and Information’s Broadband Office announced that it will host public meetings in March 2023 to inform residents about what is happening across the state with major broadband initiatives.

Attendees of these meetings will also be asked to participate in a survey about their broadband needs and experiences. Three sessions are currently planned and will be held in Dover, Georgetown and Middletown. (Julia Edinger)


The U.S. Senate held a new nomination hearing this week for Gigi Sohn, President Biden's long-delayed nomination to fill a currently vacant commissioner seat at the Federal Communications Commission.

This marked the third hearing for Sohn, who was initially nominated in October 2021. Currently, the FCC commissioners are split evenly down party lines, with two commissioners each. Sohn would create a majority at the FCC for Democrats.

The latest hearing was overseen by Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., who is the chair of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation. Cantwell described Sohn in her opening remarks as well qualified to help the country reach its goals of providing affordable and accessible broadband to all residents, with Sohn having previously worked at the FCC.

A full video of the nomination hearing can be found here. (Zack Quaintance)


A bipartisan group of U.S. lawmakers has reintroduced legislation that could prevent broadband grants from being taxed, according to a press release from one of the lawmakers.

The bill would specifically ensure that the historic amount of funding from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) and the American Rescue Plan (ARP) would not be taxable income. This legislation was also introduced during the last Congress by a bipartisan coalition of lawmakers.

The new bill has again found support in both the U.S. Senate as well as the House of Representatives. Reintroducing the bill this week were Sens. Mark Warner, D-Va., and Jerry Moran, R-Kan., along with U.S. Reps. Mike Kelly, R-Pa.-16, and Jimmy Panetta, D-Calif.-19. There is also a much longer list of lawmakers who are co-sponsoring the new bill, which includes members of both parties from both chambers of Congress.

The idea, essentially, is that the entirety of the grant money would go toward helping get residents connected, without a portion of it returning right back to where it came from via federal taxes.

The full text of the bill can be found here. (Zack Quaintance)


Seattle has opened applications for its 2023 digital equity grants, the city announced.

This year, Seattle will offer up as much as $545,000 through its long-running Technology Matching Fund (TMF) grants. The TMF is one of the oldest municipal digital equity programs in the country. While most jurisdictions are new to this work — at least in any serious capacity — the TMF program has run in Seattle for more than 25 years.

This year, the TMF is offering grants of up to $45,000, depending on a project's needs. The required community match for the grants is 25 percent. Awardees will be notified in July, and the projects must then be completed by August 2024.

“Each year, the projects selected for the Technology Matching Fund grants provide such innovative and needed support to our communities,” said Jim Loter, interim chief technology officer, in a statement. “I’m excited to see how this new cycle of grants opens up windows of opportunities for those who need support in our ever-changing technology-dependent world.”

On the 2023 digital equity grants page, city officials listed the type of projects the money will go to. That list includes digital navigators, digital literacy skills training, device support, access to the Internet and more.

An optional preliminary application can be submitted by March 13, and the final deadline for the applications is April 17. More information can be found here. (Zack Quaintance)
Julia Edinger is a staff writer for Government Technology. She has a bachelor's degree in English from the University of Toledo and has since worked in publishing and media. She's currently located in Southern California.
Associate editor for <i>Government Technology</i> magazine.