New Hampshire’s State Digital Equity Plan and Development Process
The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) issued the State Digital Equity Planning Grant Program Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO), which resulted in awards to all fifty states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico for the purpose of developing State Digital Equity Plans. Through these Plans, awardees must, among other things, identify barriers to broadband access and adoption and develop strategies for overcoming those barriers.
The State Digital Equity Planning Grant Program is part of the larger State Digital Equity Capacity Grant Program, which will award a total of $1.44 billion over five fiscal years to states, territories, and Tribal entities for the purpose of implementing their approved State Digital Equity Plans.
In order to receive additional funding and implement all or part of its plan, the State, through the New Hampshire Department of Business and Economic Affairs (BEA) must first complete its State Digital Equity Plan as described in Section 60304(c) of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021, Public Law 117-58, 135 Stat. 429 (November 15, 2021) (Infrastructure Act or Act; also frequently referred to as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law), which requires drafting the plan, receiving public comment on the plan, and then receiving feedback and eventual approval of that plan by the NTIA.
BEA has partnered with the University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension to craft the State’s plan, which has involved months of stakeholder engagement, research, and data collection. BEA is now at the public comment stage of this process, and you have the opportunity to review the draft plan, and then provide questions and comments for consideration.
New Hampshire residents, community organizations, businesses, community anchor institutions, and local units of governments, as well as any other interested groups, are encouraged to participate in the public comment period, which will remain open for 30 days, closing at 12:00 PM Eastern Time, on February 7, 2024.
To view the draft plan and submit comments please visit www.nhdigitalequity.org