The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) on March 29 announced that it is making $811 million of funding available to states, territories, and native entities to pursue goals under their digital equity plans.

The digital equity plans “identify the barriers to accessing and using digital resources and establish measurable objectives for promoting access to and meaningful use of broadband technology and advancing digital skills,” NTIA said.

In late February, NTIA said that all states, plus Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia, had submitted to the agency for evaluation their proposed digital equity plans. As of Feb. 29, NTIA had signed off on six of those plans, and was working to review the remainder.

States and territories can apply for some of the $811 million of available funding under NTIA’s Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) released on March 29, NTIA said.

The agency has already split up the funding total across broad categories, with states in line for $760 million, $45 million reserved for native entities, and $8.4 million for territories.  Among states, some of the biggest funding winners are California at $70 million, Florida at $41 million, and New York at $36 million.

The funding opportunity stems from the Biden administration’s “Investing in America” agenda.

“Today’s announcement marks our nation’s single largest investment in digital equity ever,” said NTIA Administrator Alan Davidson.

“This funding will ensure that our seniors, veterans, communities of color, families living below the poverty line, and people living in rural areas have the tools, skills, and devices they need to thrive in the modern digital economy,” Davidson said.

“President Biden is committed to ensuring everyone in America has access to affordable, reliable high-speed Internet service,” said Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo. “Commerce’s work building high-speed Internet infrastructure is only part of the equation. Families across America need the tools and skills required to make the most of that Internet connection, and that’s the opportunity we’re announcing today.

“President Biden’s digital equity initiative will make the promise of the Internet come alive for everyone in our country, no matter where they live or what their background is,” Raimondo said.

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