NDIA launched in May 2015. Here are some highlights of what we’ve been doing.

  • March 31, 2016, the Federal Communications Commissioners voted to include broadband internet as a subsidized Lifeline service for low-income consumers. NDIA had submitted comments to the FCC on August 31, 2015 and reply comments to the FCC on September 30, 2015. NDIA’s Director, Angela Siefer, established relationships with FCC staff, meeting and communicating regularly.  Subsidized broadband will be an important tool to reducing digital disparity. NDIA had spoken repeatedly to FCC staff regarding the need for the Lifeline order to reflect broadband adoption barriers beyond cost.  The “digital inclusion plan” noted in the announcement of the order tell us NDIA’s voice was heard. Three representatives of the FCC participated in Net Inclusion 2016.
  • The White House engaged 25 federal agencies in the Broadband Opportunity Council. NDIA responded to their request for comments and was cited five times in the resulting Broadband Opportunity Council Report and Recommendations. NDIA is pursing specific change within multiple federal agencies. The Broadband Opportunity Council Report and Recommendations included the creation of a connectivity index. This has evolved into the Community Connectivity Initiative. NDIA staff and affiliates have been continuously engaged in the development of this initiative to ensure optimum impact. We are one of fourteen national organizations serving as partners of the National Telecommunications  & Information Administration’s BroadbandUSA to develop the Community Connectivity Initiative. March 9, 2016 President Obama announced ConnectALL, an initiative to help Americans from across the country get online and have the tools to take full advantage of the Internet. NDIA’s suggestions to the White House were included in the announcement and NDIA was listed as a collaborator in the creation of the Community Connectivity Initiative.  Six representatives of five federal agencies participated in Net Inclusion 2016. On October, 13, 2017, responding to a request for comments by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) and the National Science Foundation (NSF), NDIA submitted official comments regarding a National Broadband Research Agenda. Bill Callahan led development of NDIA’s comments.
  • NDIA encouraged Dr. Colin Rhinesmith to research broadband adoption strategies and challenges with practitioners on the ground. He did so with NDIA affiliates. His initial report “Four Essentials for Digital Inclusion Efforts” was published by the Benton Foundation.
  • The role of libraries leading regional broadband adoption efforts cannot be understated. With Katherine Bates of the Urban Libraries Council and Colin Rhinesmith of the University of Oklahoma, Angela Siefer co-wrote Libraries Increasing Role in Broadband Adoption, published by the Benton Foundation, January 2016.
  • Thanks to the Benton Foundation, in February 2016 Casey Sorensen of NDIA Affiliate PCs for People and  Angela Siefer of NDIA spoke on a Senate Briefing panel sponsored by Georgetown’s Institute for Public Representation and the Benton Foundation in cooperation with Senator Richard Blumenthal. The briefing was entitled “Understanding Digital Inclusion & Broadband Adoption”. 
  • Friday, May 13th marked the inaugural celebration of National Digital Inclusion Day – a day to highlight and discuss the impact that digital access and skills can have on society, families and individuals. The NDIA, along with partners and affiliates from around the country, hosted an online Twitter Town Hall to address these important issues and reached over 200,000 people online. The day was kicked off with a message from FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel about the the homework gap – a product of the digital divide.
  • Considering an unprecedented variety of public and nonprofit leaders are engaged in efforts to overcome the digital divides that afflict our disadvantaged neighbors and neighborhoods we held Net Inclusion 2016: The National Digital Inclusion Summit, hosted by the Kansas City Public Library May 18-19. 2016. 200 digital inclusion practitioners, advocates, academics, Internet service providers and policymakers discussed current and potential local, state and federal policies crafted to increase digital equity and shared broadband adoption best practices and new strategies. Net Inclusion 2017 will be held in St. Paul, Minnesota in May 2017.
  • Angela Siefer write the article “Innovators in Digital Inclusion: PCs for People”. It is the first in a series.
  • An NDIA working group created definitions for digital inclusion and digital equity. The NDIA Directing Council ratified the definitions. Angela Siefer wrote an article about the definitions published by the Benton Foundation.
  • In the AT&T-DirecTV merger conditions set by the FCC, AT&T agreed to offer low-cost broadband service to households participating in SNAP. The language of that agreement stated the low-cost service would be offered to households where 3 mbps, 5 mbps or 10mbps is available. Through NDIA affiliates and mapping of data collected by the FCC, NDIA determined thousands of eligible households have less than 3mbps service available from AT&T (including 21% of households in Cleveland). NDIA asked AT&T to rectify the situation. AT&T declined. The press reported the story and AT&T is now making their low-cost offer available to households that have less than 3 mbps AT&T service. We won.
  • Angela Siefer was appointed to the Federal Communication Commission’s 2016-2018 Consumer Advisory Committee.
  • Growing a community of practice to support each other and inform NDIA’s policy work, NDIA has an active list serve and is continually growing our list of Affiliates