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What’s New in Digital Equity: White House Launches National Spectrum Strategy

Plus, support for continued ACP funding continues to grow; the FCC adopted final rules on digital discrimination; HUD has unveiled a streamlined enrollment process for the ACP; and more.

Image is illustration showing hands holding up phones over a blue 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:


In federal news, the Biden-Harris administration this week has released a National Spectrum Strategy (NSS). It aims to help advance U.S. leadership globally and to ensure citizens have access to the high-quality services made possible through advanced wireless technology.

Biden also released the Presidential Memorandum on Modernizing United States Spectrum Policy and Establishing a National Spectrum Strategy.

Because spectrum is a limited but valuable resource, the strategy aims to establish a clear and consistent spectrum policy as well as a process to resolve spectrum-related conflicts. It identifies a strong pipeline of spectrum to study for private-sector use, improves coordination on spectrum-related decision-making, focuses on advancing technology that could help make crowded bands available, and growing the workforce for spectrum-related work.

The next step for the administration is to coordinate the development of an implementation plan for the strategy, which is intended to be a living document.

The NSS has four pillars that focus on essential actions for guiding spectrum policy: a spectrum pipeline to ensure U.S. leadership in advanced and emerging technologies; collaborative long-term planning to support the nation’s evolving spectrum needs; unprecedented spectrum access and management through technology development; and expanded spectrum expertise and elevated national awareness.

Following the release of the strategy, Federal Communications Commission Commissioner Anna M. Gomez issued a statement in which she praised the work that went into crafting it.

“We have much work ahead of us, and I look forward to the opportunity to bring my expertise in domestic and international spectrum policy to our collective efforts,” Gomez said in the statement.


This week, a bipartisan coalition of 26 governors came together to sign a letter urging Congress to ensure additional funding for the Affordable Connectivity Program.

This follows the Biden-Harris administration's call to support continued funding for the program earlier this month. If Congress does not take action to sustain the program, funding is expected to run out in 2024. As such, a wide range of organizations with a vested interest in digital inclusion have voiced their support for continued program funding.

In the letter to Congress, the coalition of governors urges congressional leaders to work together with the White House to provide additional funding for the program.

“Closing our nation’s digital divide transcends politics,” the letter states. This letter illustrates that there is broad support across the political spectrum for this program.


This week, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) adopted final rules to prevent digital discrimination of access to broadband services.

This action has been underway for some time, initially called for in Section 60506 of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, with the February 2022 creation of a task force targeting digital discrimination and subsequent listening sessions. In March 2023, the FCC set a due date for public comments on the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that was adopted in December 2022.

The new rules establish a framework to facilitate equal access to broadband, enabling the FCC to directly address company policies that impact consumer access unequally.

The FCC announcement has received mixed reactions. In a statement from the NTCA–The Rural Broadband Association, CEO Shirley Bloomfield stated a need to further review the final order as approved to understand the scope. In a statement from the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, an official expressed concern that the order will hinder efforts to close the digital divide.

However, in a statement from FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel, she states that the rules are strong, but also fair and reasonable. She underlines that Section 60506 is significant: “It is the first bipartisan civil rights law focused on the digital age.”


In other federal news related to the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Deputy Secretary Adrianne Todman unveiled a streamlined enrollment process.

The department has completed a new data-sharing agreement with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), which will support access to the program by reducing enrollment barriers. More specifically, this agreement makes it so that any family receiving rental assistance from HUD can enroll for ACP benefits with minimal paperwork.

“I’ve long said that if we are helping a household find housing, we should help ensure that home is connected,” said FCC Commissioner Geoffrey Starks in the announcement.


NTCA–The Rural Broadband Association has released a new toolkit to support broadband providers and state broadband offices in their work to expand digital inclusion in rural communities. This follows the release of the completed Broadband Infrastructure Playbook 3.0 last week.

The toolkit, SMART Tools for Digital Inclusion, includes examples of needs assessments, asset inventories and community action plans as well as information on initiatives in this space successfully implemented by NTCA members.

The toolkit aims to help providers take advantage of new funding opportunities to help rural Americans — especially youth and senior citizens — access the opportunities that are available to them online.


This week, Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin announced appointments to both administration and board positions. This includes appointments to the Broadband Advisory Council and the Cybersecurity Planning Committee.

The Broadband Advisory Council appointments are as follows: Jimmy Carr, CEO of All Points Broadband; Christian R. Goodwin, county administrator of Louisa County; Ray LaMura, president of VCTA – Broadband Association of Virginia; Casey Logan, COO of Mecklenburg Electric Cooperative and EMPOWER Broadband; Steven Sandy, assistant county administrator for Franklin County; and Richard Schollmann, executive director of the Virginia Broadband Industry Association.
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.