The Infrastructure Act and Digital Equity Act Passed … Now What?

By Amy Huffman, policy director, and Josh Mimura, NDIA fellow | Nov 16, 2021 | Digital Inclusion News

Finally! After months of negotiations, many hours in the drafting “room,” lots of speculation, and some hand-wringing (on our part at least), President Joe Biden signed the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) into law during a ceremony on the South Lawn of the White House yesterday afternoon.

Among its various provisions, the Act provides $65 billion to states, community organizations, and other entities for a range of broadband deployment and digital inclusion activities. It’s the largest single investment in broadband and digital equity in the nation’s history and a truly historic, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to thoughtfully and systemically address the digital divide.

Within the IIJA’s broadband section is the Digital Equity Act of 2021 (DEA). The DEA appropriates $2.75 billion to be distributed through two primary grant programs: the State Digital Equity Capacity Grant Program and the Digital Equity Competitive Grant Program. Below is a rundown of the programs, as outlined in the law.

These funds can be used for a variety of digital inclusion efforts, including but not limited to device distribution programs, digital literacy training, and digital navigation assistance. Read more

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