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What’s New in Digital Equity: States Continue Broadband Work

Plus, the New York State Library is preparing to hold a digital equity roundtable, a report details the lack of Internet at rural Pennsylvania schools, and more.

Closeup of yellow broadband cables with blue plugs plugged into a board.
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:


In state news, Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly made two broadband-related announcements this week. First, she announced that $5 million in grants has been awarded to eight Internet service providers as part of the latest round of Broadband Acceleration Grants. This funding, which will be paired with an additional $6.6 million in matching funds, will help the state invest in broadband projects across 10 rural Kansas counties.

Kelly also announced that $28.5 million in grants have been awarded to 12 entities through the Lasting Infrastructure and Network Connectivity program, which offers strategic funding for aspects of broadband connectivity to improve availability and reduce costs. Matching funds from service providers are expected to bring the total for this investment to or above $33.9 million. (Julia Edinger)


In other state news, Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey kicked off a statewide broadband tour this week in Walker County. The tour is an opportunity for the state to spread awareness and engage communities about the progress being made in expanding connectivity.

Other state leaders in this space joined Ivey at the first stop, Oakman Middle School, to address nearly $12 million in funds currently committed for broadband projects in the state. The state has invested approximately $82 million in state dollars through grant awards since 2018 to support over 100 projects through the Alabama Broadband Accessibility Fund.

Alabamians who want to learn more about the progress can access state resources like the Be Linked Alabama website, the Alabama Broadband Map, and more. (Julia Edinger)


In yet more statewide news, the New York State Library is preparing to launch a series of roundtables about digital equity, dubbed fittingly the New York State Library’s Digital Equity Roundtable Conversations.

The series is comprised of webinars aimed at connecting digital equity practitioners throughout New York. Starting in December, the roundtables are set to happen on the second Friday of every other month, via Zoom. Next month’s roundtable is slated to include presentations by Christopher White of the New York State Department of Labor, Christine Carr-Barmasse of MISSION:IGNITE, and Jeff Bostic of Central Library.

More information is available here, along with a place to register. (Zack Quaintance)


A new report has found that students at schools in rural Pennsylvania often struggle with limited Internet.

The non-partisan report is titled Why Rural Matters 2023, and it was authored by the National Rural Education Association. For the past 10 years, that group has examined inequities affecting students in rural communities. It found that many students in rural states lack basic Internet access, and that is true of rural schools in Western Pennsylvania.

It noted that more than half of U.S. students in rural schools can also be found in 11 states, including Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, Michigan, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia.

The report can be found in full here. (Zack Quaintance)
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.