IE 11 Not Supported

For optimal browsing, we recommend Chrome, Firefox or Safari browsers.

What's New in Digital Equity: Enrollment Ends for ACP

Plus, Alabama announces $188 million for broadband; California sees digital discrimination legislation introduced; Phoenix opens a digital skills training center; and more.

Sand running through the hourglass.
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:


Today, the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) will stop accepting new enrollments, according to an announcement from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

This news is a blow to advocates who have been calling for the program’s continuation, including those from the Biden-Harris administration, a coalition of governors, a group of senators and a variety of other organizations. 

The FCC announcement comes because, as ACP funding is expected to last only through April, the FCC recently issued guidance to begin winding down the program. The action to end enrollment is part of the pre-established wind-down procedures.

The National Digital Inclusion Alliance (NDIA) has created an ACP Transition web page to complement this announcement. The web page provides resources and support, and details the ACP wind-down process, offers talking points to explain the ACP transition and offers information about ACP Transition Plans. NDIA will continue to add information and resources to this page.

Despite the wind-down, stakeholders are not yet giving up on the program.

The NDIA announcement also notes that things are still uncertain regarding the ACP. The FCC announcement underlines the Affordable Connectivity Program Extension Act, which if adopted, could provide an additional $7 billion for the program. And individuals, too, can take action to push for the program’s continuation. (Julia Edinger)


Alabama has awarded $188 million in grants to Internet service providers in rural areas, the list of which includes three electric co-ops, the governor's office has announced.

The money is aimed at middle-mile projects that will help connect anchor institutions such as schools, hospitals and government buildings, among others. The Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs will administer the program.

A full list of grant recipients — along with total monies received — can be found through the state's announcement here. (Zack Quaintance)


In other state news, California Assemblymember Mia Bonta introduced AB 2239 this week. This legislation would make California the first state in the nation to codify the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) newly adopted digital discrimination definition as state law. The FCC’s work to define and adopt this definition follows a multiyear rulemaking process.

Earlier this year, the Los Angeles City Council passed the nation’s first city-level digital discrimination policy. Establishing such a definition at the state will help ensure the $8 billion in state and federal funds being invested in California broadband infrastructure are deployed equitably.

“To the extent that there are policies and practices that serve to exacerbate this persistent inequity — even when that is not the intent — we must put an end to them,” said Bonta in the announcement. "That is my intent with AB 2239." (Julia Edinger)


In local news, the city of Phoenix has partnered with the Digital Equity Institute and Maricopa County to celebrate the official opening of The Hive, a new digital device access center within the Aeroterra Community Center. The new center is the first of several that will be opened by the Digital Equity Institute and its partners.

At The Hive, community members will have access to different types of technology, including computer and iPad access. In addition, The Hive will have 3D printers and interactive sensory tools, as well as digital navigators to provide on-site digital skills training — a model that has proved successful nationwide over the more than three years of its existence. (Julia Edinger)


Last week, several broadband groups came together to encourage the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) to continue prioritizing fiber projects and networks under the Broadband Equity, Access and Deployment (BEAD) program. This comes amid calls for the agency to weaken initial proposals submitted by some states and territories.

NTCA – The Rural Broadband Association, the Fiber Broadband Association and ACA Connects – America’s Communications Association urged NTIA to do so in a letter to NTIA Assistant Secretary Alan Davidson.

“Congress rightly saw the value in investing in technologies built to last, and we hope NTIA will hold fast to this vision,” said NTCA CEO Shirley Bloomfield in the announcement. (Julia Edinger)
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.