IE 11 Not Supported

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

What’s New in Digital Equity: FCC Updates Broadband Benchmark

Plus, stakeholders continue to push for more ACP funding as the program winds down, Connecticut releases $41 million for broadband, and San Antonio is supporting small businesses with digital skills training.

Cyan-colored lines with glowing dots along them overlap over black background to represent a digital rendering of high-speed internet.
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 Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has updated its standard for broadband speed, going from 25 megabits-per-second (Mbps) download speed and 3 Mbps upload speed to 100 Mbps download speed and 20 Mbps upload speed.

This decision to adopt a new speed benchmark aims to support the evaluation of broadband deployment and availability as consumers’ use of — and needs for — broadband service evolves.

“This fix is overdue,” said FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel in a statement, explaining that not only does it align with legislation like the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, but it also will help in efforts to better identify the extent to which underserved communities are underserved.

In addition, it establishes a long-term goal of 1 Gbps download speed and 500 Mbps upload speed.

In a statement, NTCA — The Rural Broadband Association applauded the FCC’s benchmark update, as it aligns with the NTCA’s belief that “networks should be built to last decades rather than merely responding to demands here and now.”

A blog post from The Benton Institute for Broadband and Society explores how the FCC got to this specific number for its speed benchmark. It concludes that trends in deployment, marketing, applications and consumer choice, as well as congressional action and standards adopted in other broadband programs, helped to inform this update. (Julia Edinger)


The Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) is winding down, but in the meantime, stakeholders are still pushing for the program’s continuation. This Monday, FCC Commissioner Geoffrey Starks urged action to continue funding the program at an event in New York City.

A bipartisan letter led by Rep. Yvette D. Clarke with support from 158 colleagues also urges House and Senate leaders to preserve the program.

And a group of senators wrote a separate letter to Senate leadership urging that ACP funding be part of the next government funding package. The letter was led by U.S. Sen. Jacky Rosen, who was joined by 33 colleagues.

The Biden-Harris administration, a coalition of governors, a group of senators and a variety of other organizations have also called on Congress to extend the program. (Julia Edinger)


Connecticut has released nearly $41 million for broadband projects in the state, officials have announced.

The funding is from the federal American Rescue Plan Act Capital Project Fund, and it will be administered by the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. Specifically, the money will go out to projects through the latter agency’s ConneCTed Communities Grant Program.

The money is aimed at creating competitive grants that improve high-speed Internet access in the state via new construction or deployment of broadband infrastructure. In an effort to maximize impact, this program is prioritizing underserved areas and populations that have historically faced obstacles to equitable digital access.

More information about the new grants — along with information about eligibility and applications — can be found here. (Zack Quaintance)


In a recent announcement, New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham unveiled a dashboard that allows users to track federally funded projects. The projects on this online tool are funded by the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

The dashboard tracks expenditures of funding including $129 million in ARPA funding for statewide broadband access. The dashboard lets users filter the information through different categories. For example, users can see all the Office of Broadband Access and Expansion’s projects.

“This is a tool to illustrate the magnitude of projects being made possible through this funding, but also to make sure the public can hold state and local government accountable and track the progress of projects happening in their own communities,” said Lujan Grisham in the announcement. (Julia Edinger)


In local government news, San Antonio is investing in increasing the digital skills of its small business owners.

The city announced that it is partnering with Herospace to offer digital support to small businesses. Interested businesses must first complete an online survey, and those in greatest need will be prioritized. Participating businesses will work with an expert to get a customized plan to improve their online presence.

Businesses will learn to make websites, use social media and more. The Digital Presence Program is supported by American Rescue Plan Act funding. More information can be found on the program website. (Julia Edinger)


Orleans, Mass., in collaboration with the Cape Cod Commission, is working to develop a municipal digital equity plan; as part of this planning effort, the town is hosting a digital equity workshop for the community.

The final plan will help prepare the town for funding opportunities. The project is funded by the Massachusetts Broadband Institute under the municipal digital equity program, the expansion of which was announced last month.

The announcement this week underlines the importance of community participation in the planning process, and this workshop will help shape the plan through exercises and conversations on topics including Internet availability, affordability, reliability, Internet-enabled devices, and digital skills. (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.