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What’s New in Digital Equity: Colorado to Streamline Connectivity Along Roadways

Plus, the federal government is strengthening its digital accessibility rules, the California Public Utilities Commission is investing in digital literacy, and more.

Highway in Colorado features several trucks driving away.
A highway in Colorado.
(FlickrCC/Bradley Gordon)
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:


Two major recent announcements from Colorado promise to improve connectivity and digital equity across the state.

The first announcement was that the Colorado Transportation Commission had voted to approve a revised fee schedule at a lower rate than nearby states to help expand high-speed Internet access. The new fee schedule will help third parties access the land owned by the state along its roadways for the purpose of installing fiber and expanding broadband.

In the announcement, Transportation Commission Chair Karen Stuart likened broadband access to the transportation system in its role providing necessary connections to constituents.

The new fee schedule charges an annual property use surcharge and a one-time fee to cover permitting costs, with the fees set intentionally low. In fact, the adopted fee schedule is over 90 percent lower than the version initially proposed.

The second piece of news is that Gov. Jared Polis announced the first of multiple investments using funding from the Capital Projects Fund program. The state will use $114 million from this fund to make long-term improvements, such as expanding broadband infrastructure. The fund is expected to support the connection of nearly 19,000 homes and businesses.

Both of these investments will help the state meet its goal of connecting 99 percent of households by 2027. (Julia Edinger)


As interactions with government increasingly take place online, the federal government is taking steps to ensure those digital services are accessible to all.

The federal Office of Management and Budget released a memorandum that tasks the U.S. Access Board with several government-wide actions to strengthen the accessibility in accordance with Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.

The memorandum establishes that the federal agencies are encouraged to do several things, such as test electronic content prior to publication to ensure it meets accessibility requirements; designate a program manager to oversee digital accessibility and resolve issues; regularly scan web content for accessibility; and offer regular training on the subject.

The memorandum offers federal agencies guidance to establish lasting systems that not only improve existing digital resources but also aim to systemically improve the long-term digital accessibility of federal services and products. (Julia Edinger)


The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) approved $6.7 million in grant funding at its December meeting, a move that will support 21 digital inclusion grants across the state. These investments come from the California Advanced Services Fund (CASF) Broadband Adoption Account and aim to expand broadband access for communities facing socio-economic barriers to connectivity, as well as provide opportunities for digital training.

The California Emerging Technology Fund, a CPUC partner organization, has shared support for this investment, stating that it is an essential piece of achieving digital equity in the state.

Separately, CPUC approved $441,374 in grants from the CASF Broadband Public Housing Account to support free broadband service in publicly supported housing across the state. (Julia Edinger)


Baltimore has released the city's new digital inclusion strategy, which outlines civic efforts there to develop digital infrastructure and get the entire community connected, from residents to businesses.

The full strategy is available via the city's website here, and the Baltimore Office of Broadband and Digital Equity oversaw its development, doing so by collaborating with residents, community groups, state agencies, federal agencies, tech experts and others. At the heart of the plan are four actionable goals.

The first is getting reliable high-speed Internet to everyone, with an emphasis on starting in underserved communities. Getting devices to use the Internet into people's hands is another priority, as is providing digital skills training. Finally, providing tech support — in multiple languages — is the fourth item.

As the strategy progresses, the city plans to provide updates to interested parties via (Zack Quaintance)


Finally, Connecticut is the latest state to release a draft of a five-year digital equity plan, officials there have announced.

The plan is being powered by the Biden administration's Internet For All Initiative, an ongoing federal effort to get the entire country connected to high-speed Internet, paid for in large part by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. Now that the plan is out, a 30-day public comment period begins, during which residents can offer the state feedback.

“Connecticut has taken significant steps to close the digital divide in our state,” Gov. Ned Lamont said in a statement. “The goals in the ‘Everyone Connected’ plan extend that work, from connections and computers to training and support that help improve the lives of all residents.”

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.