IE 11 Not Supported

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

What's New in Digital Equity: New York to Release $100M in Federal Broadband Funds

Plus, a new survey has found that more than 80 percent of respondents have high-speed Internet through fiber; the Pittsburgh Digital Equity Coalition has released a new strategic plan; and more.

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul standing in front of a podium.
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:


Applications are now open for the $100 million Affordable Housing Connectivity Program, according to an announcement this week from New York Gov. Kathy Hochul. But that is a partnership between Empire State Development’s ConnectALL Office and New York State Homes and Community Renewal, aiming to install broadband infrastructure at 100,000 affordable housing units across the state.

It is a competitive grant program, through which Internet service providers are invited to apply for funding for retrofits. Property owners must complete a survey to be considered for updates to their building. Eligible properties will be paired up with leading proposals from Internet service providers for installation by ConnectALL.

This federally funded program leverages funding from the Treasury Department's Capital Projects Fund under the American Rescue Plan Act. More information about applications can be found on the ConnectALL website.

“Affordable housing connectivity unlocks countless opportunities for residents,” said Rep. Gregory Meeks in the announcement. “The federal funds assist in creating inclusiveness among our communities, where everyone, regardless of their economic circumstances, has the necessary resources to succeed.”

The program is reminiscent of a similar program — Big Apple Connect — launched in New York City in October 2022. (Julia Edinger)


NTCA–The Rural Broadband Association today released its “2023 Broadband/Internet Availability Survey Report.” The report, through a survey of member companies conducted in August 2023, revealed two key findings.

First, NTCA members continue deploying fiber-to-the-premises networks, which support higher downstream and upstream speeds in rural communities. Around 84 percent of respondents’ customers can receive downstream speeds greater than or equal to 100 Mbps; about 82 percent see upload speeds of 100 Mbps or higher. About 84 percent of customers served by respondents are served through fiber connections.

The second key finding was that customers will likely subscribe to higher speeds when they become available, with nearly 60 percent of respondents’ customers subscribing to 100 Mbps downstream broadband or faster, which is up from the 2022 survey. Services with faster speeds are more popular for the second consecutive year, according to the survey. (Julia Edinger)


The Pittsburgh Digital Equity Coalition has released a new strategic plan aimed at closing the digital divide there by 2030.

The plan was developed with and presented by city officials as well as officials from Allegheny County, which is where Pittsburgh is located. Local businesses and nonprofits involved in digital equity were also brought in to help create the plan.

“The COVID-19 pandemic showed all of us the importance of being able to connect in today’s digital world. For many, it was absolutely imperative for education, health care, employment and more,” said Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald in a statement. “Ensuring adequate Internet for all, particularly in those communities that are unserved and underserved with broadband, is of vital importance so that those who call this county home can continue to grow and thrive with equitable access to the many opportunities in this region.”

Measures of the plan are already being implemented by some organizations in the area, including the United Way with its 211 Digital Navigator Network. This program connects residents with digital navigators, who are experts in digital equity works. These navigators can help connect residents to device access, options for low-cost Internet, and digital literacy and skills training.

The full release, along with the entirety of the Pittsburgh Digital Equity Coalition Community Strategic Plan can be found here. (Zack Quaintance)


In other state news, Kansas continues to invest in expanding connectivity in the state, with Gov. Laura Kelly this week opening applications for the Advancing Digital Opportunities to Promote Technology (ADOPT) program. Through this program, a total of $14.7 million in grants will be made available to organizations to focus on the affordability of and access to both broadband and Internet-enabled devices.

This program is divided into two categories: equipment distribution and public Wi-Fi.

For the equipment distribution category, the Kansas Office of Broadband Development will partner with entities that can support the project, distribution, management and maintenance of devices. Those devices will then be provided to individuals. For the public Wi-Fi category, partnerships will help the state deliver solutions in unserved or underserved public spaces.

Last week, Kelly made two broadband-related announcements about grants awarded to expand access to broadband. (Julia Edinger)


Finally, a high-speed fiber broadband provider has launched a new service in Albuquerque, the company has announced.

After breaking ground in March, Vexus Fiber is now launching service to more than 1,000 homes and businesses in the Albuquerque area, billing the launch as phase one of a wider operation to get more locations connected. Vexus Fiber has an agreement to do so with the city, and the company estimates that the full build-out will be complete by 2028. Construction is already underway in other parts of the city.

More information about this work 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.