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What’s New in Digital Equity: NDIA Toolkit Helps Individuals Support ACP

Plus, AT&T is opening a center to support digital equity in Miami, Kansas is the latest state to submit its five-year broadband action plan to the federal government, and more.

The NDIA logo on a white background.
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:


A new blog from the National Digital Inclusion Alliance (NDIA) reveals the organization’s new Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) Advocacy Toolkit, which is made up of resources to help people and organizations communicate with policymakers about the value of this program in the effort to achieve digital equity.

While the ACP funding is slated to run out in 2024 — between March and June 2024, according to the NDIA blog, if Congress does not take action — many organizations have urged the continuation of this program. Forty-five members of Congress have also recently voiced support for continuing the program.

The NDIA’s ACP Advocacy Toolkit includes talking points to be used in meetings with congressional delegations and in press interviews, an advocacy letter template that can be adapted to be community-specific and shared with Congress, and even example letters that can serve as a model.

The NDIA also offers tips on how this toolkit can help stakeholders take action. For example, the NDIA urges stakeholders to send a letter that can come from one or many organizations. Another recommendation is to share ACP success stories to help underline the program’s value.

The NDIA blog notes that advocacy differs from lobbying, especially as there is not currently a specific piece of legislation in play for ACP renewal.

In other NDIA news, the organization is accepting conference session proposals for the first time for Net Inclusion 2024. These are to be submitted by Sept. 8.

The organization announced in April 2023 that this event would be relocated to ensure safety of the LGBTQIA+ community in the wake of discriminatory legislation. In July 2023, NDIA announced that Philadelphia, Pa., had been selected as the new location of the event.

These proposals are expected to have a clear focus on digital equity. NDIA will review the proposals through Sept. 22, and will notify those who have submitted proposals of their status by Sept. 29. (Julia Edinger)


The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) are officially partnering to promote awareness of the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) among those who are receiving federal housing assistance.

As HUD Secretary Marcia L. Fudge said in an announcement, all recipients of HUD assistance are eligible to receive free or reduced Internet through the ACP. Currently, ACP enrollment remains at under 50 percent of those eligible to enroll nationwide, according to the ACP Dashboard.

This partnership aims to increase awareness of the program through outreach and enrollment events at public housing locations, regular meetings to coordinate work on ACP outreach targeting these individuals, and collaborating on both outreach and education efforts, including developing targeted messaging for these audiences. (Julia Edinger)


AT&T will open a new Connected Learning Center inside OYC Miami — formerly the Overtown Youth Center — that will provide Internet access and education resources to help bridge the digital divide in Miami, Fla. AT&T has made a $50,000 contribution to OYC Miami to support this center.

This marks the 26th such center that AT&T has opened, with more slated to open through mid-2024. The goal is that these centers can help bring connectivity to more individuals and families through free access to computers and the Internet, as well as the education necessary to use them.

This center aims to help bridge the city’s digital divide through resources such as the digital literacy courses created with the Public Library Association. (Julia Edinger)


Kansas is the latest state to submit its five-year broadband action plan, making it one of a small-but-growing group of states to do so, the state has announced.

The plan — which was submitted by the Kansas Office of Broadband Development — went to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), as part of the Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment program. The plan details how Kansas will get its residents connected to broadband using the $451 million that the NTIA has allocated to the state.

The plan has a focus on connecting unserved and underserved areas. It includes specific goals, as well as info about adoption rates and projections for economic growth. The plan also works to identify programs that already exist as well as assets, with the goal of reducing any potential overlap. The plan also lists challenges, which include supply chain constraints, labor and digital skills gaps, along with proposals to overcome those challenges.

More information can be found through Kansas’ announcement. (Zack Quaintance)


Illinois has awarded $21.4 million in grants to support library services there, along with $5.7 million for adult literacy grants, Illinois officials have announced.

The state also shared a list of expenditures the money will go toward, including support for online catalogs and resources that will address the digital divide. The money is being administered through the Illinois Secretary of State and the Illinois State Librarian’s office.

More information about this new allocation can be found through the Illinois Lieutenant Governor’s website. (Zack Quaintance)


Ohio has announced the participants for the state’s second cohort of the BroadbandOhio Community Accelerator Program, which is an initiative to help communities there create local plans to leverage the historic federal funding for high-speed Internet.

That cohort will consist of seven teams from nine Ohio counties, a marked increase from the four teams that were part of the initial group. The counties sending participants to the second round are Ashtabula, Athens, Henry, Hocking, Lucas, Monroe, Paulding, Perry and Union.

As part of the program, the participating counties will get specialized support to identify their broadband goals, collect data, learn about available funding, expand workforce development, and more.

More information about the announcement can be found via the Ohio governor’s office. (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.