Human-I-T’s desire to empower as many people as possible with digital access is born from our unwavering belief that access to technology is a right, not a privilege. Now there is a law that supports our opinion.
On November 15, President Biden signed into law the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act which begins executing on his vision to ‘Build Back Better’. Human-I-T believes that there is no such thing as “better” until every American has access to the tools, training, and support they need to fully participate in the digital age. That’s why we are pleased that $65 billion – the largest investment in digital equity ever – of the total $1.2 trillion in funding will be used to advance digital equity nationwide.
One component of the bill, which Human-I-T advocated for, is the Digital Equity Act of 2021. Introduced by Senators Patty Murray (D-WA), Rob Portman (R-OH), and Angus King (I-ME), the legislation creates two grant programs aimed at promoting digital equity. The first grant program will provide approximately $1.5 billion to states for the purpose of developing State Digital Equity Plans. An additional $1.25 billion will be made available for the Digital Equity Competitive Grant Program, which supports digital equity activities at the state, local, and organizational level.
Other notable portions of the bill include: the creation of a $42.45 billion grant program – the Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment Program – which will allow states to deploy new broadband networks; an additional $14.2 billion for monthly broadband subsidies for low-income Americans; and definitions for ‘digital equity’ and ‘digital inclusion’ that will guide this work for years to come.
At Human-I-T, we are committed to working with the Biden Administration, and with State and Local government leaders, to ensure this legislation is implemented in a way that ensures everyone has equal access to opportunities.