The Digital Equity Act is a part of the 2021 Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. It provides $2.75 billion nationally distributed across three grant programs that promote digital equity and inclusion. They aim to ensure that all people and communities have the skills, technology, and capacity needed to reap the full benefits of our digital economy.
• State Planning Program: A $60 million formula grant program for states,
territories, and tribal governments to develop digital equity plans. Minnesota has received an allocation of $881,905.10 through this program. The funding period is December 1, 2022, to November 30, 2023. Office of Broadband Development (OBD) is leading this work.
• State Digital Capacity Program: A $1.44 billion formula grant program for states, territories, and tribal governments. It will fund an annual grant program for five years in support of digital equity projects and the implementation of digital equity plans. Funding amounts have not yet been determined, but Minnesota expects to have access to $20 million – $25 million through this program over a five year period starting in 2024 after the Digital Equity Plan is submitted and approved.
The third grant program included in the Digital Equity Act allocates $1.35B in grants on a competitive basis to local governments and anchor institutions for digital equity work beginning in 2024. This grant will be administered by NTIA, and it is our hope to successfully apply for some of these grant dollars to continue digital inclusion work within the county.