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What’s New in Digital Equity: Prepping for Digital Inclusion Week

Plus, Maryland’s governor attends an ACP training session; Seattle has opened applications for its annual digital equity grants; new findings about Internet access; and much more.

Image shows ipad with EQUITY glowing and floating cyan charts around it, hands holding Ipad.
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:


This year’s Digital Inclusion Week is set for the first week of October, and jurisdictions across the country are making preparations.

Digital Inclusion Week, for the uninitiated, is an annual week of awareness around digital inclusion work. It’s supported by the National Digital Inclusion Alliance (NDIA), with individual events across the country hosted by groups and individuals. The NDIA reports that in 2022 as many as 238 towns, agencies, tribes and others participated. This year’s theme is Building Connected Communities, and the group is hoping to hit as many as 500 participants.

An increasing number of participants are preparing and announcing their events. One of the most recent to do so was the local government in Austin, Texas. Austin is working with a local digital inclusion group there — the Digital Empowerment Community of Austin. The partnership is slated to yield a series of events to raise awareness about the digital divide as well as the work being done to get more residents connected to high-speed Internet.

Austin is just one of several participating groups, though. The NDIA has released more info about the week — including a toolkit and a map of registered participants — via its website. (Zack Quaintance)


The state of Maryland continues its efforts to increase Affordable Connectivity Program enrollment through efforts such as the ActNow campaign. More recently, the Montgomery County Office of Broadband Programs hosted a training event to build on this work. The training focused on the role of government and nonprofit frontline service providers.

The virtual event had more than 250 in-person participants. Gov. Wes Moore spoke during the session, highlighting the administration’s successes in this space. At the state level, the Office of Statewide Broadband’s programs and services aim to help increase digital equity through investments of over $270 million since the office’s creation in 2017. (Julia Edinger)


Seattle’s 2024 Digital Equity Grant cycle is now open for applications from nonprofits and community groups that operate in that community, the city has announced.

Applications can be submitted starting at noon local time on Monday through the city’s grant system FLUXX portal. Entities that qualify can nab grants of up to $35,000 to support their work. All told, the city is poised to put $545,000 toward this via its Technology Matching Fund and Digital Navigator Grant. For those unfamiliar, city dollars are matched for that by community contributors of volunteers, material, professional services or just straight up cash donations.

There are some requirements of course for the projects this money goes toward. They have to increase Internet access and adoption by providing digital navigator services, digital literacy classes, devices support and Internet connectivity.

The application window will run through Nov. 9, and through the fall, the city will be offering virtual grant information services.

Interested parties can find more information via the city’s online announcement. (Zack Quaintance)


Charter Communications has awarded a total of $1.1 million to 46 nonprofit groups through its Spectrum Digital Education grant program, which offers broadband programs and digital training programs for unserved communities — specifically those in Charter’s coverage area.

The recipients were winnowed down from a pool of nearly 250 applicants. The grants will go to groups spread throughout 14 states. This sort of grantmaking with nonprofits has become essentially part and parcel for supporting digital equity work. It’s also part of a larger Charter grantmaking initiative that has to date sent out $9 million to the work.

More details about this — including a full list of grant recipients — can be found via Charter Communications’ announcement. (Zack Quaintance)


Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro and his administration have launched a new resource to make government more accessible to constituents. The resource allows Pennsylvanians to receive texts directly from the administration to get firsthand updates on issues that affect them and actions the state is taking.

“No matter how you choose to access government, you need to know you’re going to get help, whether you’re walking into a building or sending me a text,” Shapiro said in the announcement.

Pennsylvanians can text 717-788-8990 to sign up for the two-way communication system. This new effort complements existing channels through which the administration can share information with constituents, such as the state website and social media channels.

This action follows the state’s recent creation of the Commonwealth Office of Digital Experience, CODE PA, earlier this year. The office’s goal is to improve the online experience for those interacting digitally with government. Because not every Pennsylvanian has access to Internet, the texting service creates one more way for people to connect to their government — part of the governor’s no-wrong-door approach to access government. (Julia Edinger)


According to a national survey from 360 Reviews, a majority of U.S. consumers that are paying for Internet services have struggled to pay their monthly service bill due to the impact of inflation.

The survey’s findings reveal that most U.S. households are paying more for Internet service today than when they first signed up. Additionally, 39 percent of respondents have had to cut personal expenses to pay for the cost of Internet service.

The survey involved over 3,500 U.S. adults who pay for home Internet service to find out how service costs have increased and how cost impacts their ability and willingness to pay for Internet access. (Julia Edinger)
Associate editor for Government Technology magazine.
Julia Edinger is a staff writer for <i>Government Technology</i>. 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.