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Provides strategies to address high-speed internet affordability, access to devices and digital literacy for all North Carolinians

RALEIGH – The N.C. Department of Information Technology’s Division of Broadband and Digital Equity is seeking public comment on the draft North Carolina Digital Equity Plan, which will address high-speed internet affordability, access to devices and digital literacy for all North Carolinians over the next five years.

The draft plan has been posted online and is available for public comment via email to digitalequity@nc.gov until Tuesday, Jan. 2, 2024, at noon. An executive summary is also available in both English and Spanish.

In addition, the division is holding a webinar on Monday, Dec. 4 at 2 p.m. to receive immediate public feedback on the draft plan.

“Thank you to the many local organizations and individuals across the state who contributed to this plan by sharing their wisdom and lived experiences,” said NCDIT Deputy Secretary for Broadband and Digital Equity Nate Denny. “We are moving forward as quickly as we can to ensure all North Carolinians have the resources and skills they need to access and benefit from digital opportunities.”

To help develop the plan, the division engaged state agencies, local digital inclusion planning teams and coalitions, and individuals and organizations serving communities across the state, as well as hosted 23 listening sessions to better understand the needs of North Carolinians. The state’s first Digital Equity Survey was also widely distributed to assess needs and barriers to overcome, along with other significant public engagement efforts across the state.

The North Carolina Digital Equity Plan identifies digital equity needs for all state residents with a focus on the following covered populations identified by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA):

  • aging individuals
  • incarcerated individuals
  • individuals who are members of a racial or ethnic minority group
  • individuals who live in low-income households
  • individuals who primarily reside in a rural area
  • individuals with a language barrier (including individuals who are English learners and those with low levels of literacy)
  • individuals with disabilities
  • veterans
  • individuals who identify as LGBTQIA+

As a part of the public comment process, the division is continuing to compile a list of all organizations across the state that provide services or programs to support internet affordability, access to computers and digital devices, digitals skills and literacy, tech support and free Wi-Fi. This information will be made available to the public in 2024 and used to identify assets and gaps to include in the final North Carolina Digital Equity Plan.

A list of digital equity assets identified to date and a form to submit assets not already included are available at ncbroadband.gov/digital-equity-plan.

After reviewing all comments received and refining the document, the division will submit the plan to NTIA by Jan. 14, 2024, for approval.

To learn more about the NCDIT Division of Broadband and Digital Equity and Governor Roy Cooper’s plan to close the digital divide in North Carolina, please visit ncbroadband.gov.

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