Update April 29, 2022: The Digital Inclusion Guide for States is not publicly available at this time. Apologies for any inconvenience.
Today NDIA released our newest publication for states, territories and the District of Columbia – the Digital Inclusion Guide for States: How to Prepare for Success in Your State Digital Equity Planning. The guide provides state and territory leaders with simple, tactical steps to prepare now for planning and eventual implementation of digital equity strategies.
Under the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), the Digital Equity Act (DEA) funds the creation and implementation of statewide digital equity plans.
The opportunity the IIJA provides to states is the chance to step back and thoughtfully design a statewide digital equity strategy to holistically meet the unique needs of each state’s residents, leverage the state’s assets, and identify innovative and creative solutions to achieve digital equity within the state.
The Digital Inclusion Guide for States is a timely tool to prepare for the forthcoming planning opportunity the DEA provides. Think of this as the pre-planning guide to help make the most of the planning funds when states receive them.
The guide includes digital inclusion essentials, an overview of the DEA, an estimated timeline (above), tips for preparing for the planning requirements, recommendations for weaving digital equity throughout all state-led broadband activities, and ideas and best practices from other states with digital inclusion activities already underway. We included templates and tools to simplify the pre-planning process for states. We highlight best practices from states’ current and past efforts that may prepare the states in different ways for the DEA planning process.
The guide includes two main recommendations for states to start right now: 1) build state digital equity capacity, and 2) create a plan for constructing the DEA plan. In addition, NDIA identified the following best practices states should consider as they prepare for the DEA planning process:
- Lead with and operationalize equity
- Weave digital equity through existing and forthcoming deployment efforts
- Start collaboration, engagement, and outreach
- Use and collect data to understand assets and needs
While much is still unknown, states can undertake these simple, tactical steps now to prepare for the forthcoming planning and eventual implementation of digital equity strategies.
This guide will provide practical support to states as they begin that process, and over the coming months and years, NDIA will continue to provide support and resources for states as they work toward achieving digital equity.