Digital Divide

The Divide: NDIA's Amy Huffman on how to build a state digital equity plan

On this episode, we hear from Amy Huffman, policy director at the National Digital Inclusion Alliance (NDIA): a nonprofit organization working to close the digital divide in the US.

She joins the show to discuss the federal government's $2.75 billion Digital Equity Act (DEA) – passed as part of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) – and NDIA's new toolkit to help states develop their digital equity plans.

We talk through some toolkit specifics, including which stakeholders states should include in the digital equity planning process, how digital equity programs should work in coordination with the $42.5 billion BEAD program – and more.

"It's really important that we address – as we're building out the pipes and wires to make sure that everyone's connected and has the access that they need to get online – that people also have access to the skills and devices, and that the Internet's actually affordable for not just the richest Americans, but also low-income households and middle class households," said Huffman. "The Digital Equity Act provides that groundwork."

Here are some topics discussed in this episode:

  • Background on the $2.75 billion Digital Equity Act and its grant programs (1:40)
  • NDIA's state digital equity toolkit: who it's for and what it covers (5:40)
  • What stakeholders states should/should not include in core planning teams (12:09)
  • How states can leverage existing digital equity resources for their plans (17:58)
  • How states can ensure their DEA and BEAD programs work in concert (20:50)
  • Examples of successful digital equity plans and programs (25:44)
  • Advice and next steps for states and territories (29:00)

Related stories and links:

Nicole Ferraro, editor, Light Reading, and host of "​​The Divide" podcast.

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