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Governor Ned Lamont


Governor Lamont Announces Federal Acceptance of Connecticut's Digital Equity Plan

Acceptance by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration Means That Connecticut Is Now Eligible To Be Awarded Digital Equity Act Capacity Grant Funds

(HARTFORD, CT) – Governor Ned Lamont today announced that he has received notification from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) informing him that the federal agency has accepted the State of Connecticut’s digital equity plan, “Connecticut: Everyone Connected.” Federal acceptance of this plan makes the state eligible for $18 million in Digital Equity Act Capacity Grant funds, which would support implementation of the plan.

A draft of the state’s plan was released in December by the Commission for Educational Technology, which resides within the Connecticut Department of Administrative Services (DAS). In developing the draft plan, the commission engaged more than 7,000 Connecticut residents and conducted in-depth research into the barriers to technology access. Following the release of the draft, the commission held a 30-day public comment period, during which it received more than 500 comments, which were incorporated into the final plan.

“This is an important step forward for Connecticut’s digital equity efforts,” Governor Lamont said. “After extensive research, we understand that Connecticut has done a good job building the infrastructure to support high-speed internet for all. Yet, adoption remains a barrier for underserved groups. In an increasingly digital world, high-speed internet is no longer a luxury. This digital equity plan will help remove barriers and increase connectivity.”

The plan will help ensure that all Connecticut residents can benefit from life in the digital world for learning, career advancement, telehealth, and leveraging state services. Consistent with federal guidance, the plan emphasizes the needs of traditionally disenfranchised groups, including residents at or below 150% of the poverty line, racial and ethnic minorities, the aging, those incarcerated in or in transition out of state correctional facilities, individuals with disabilities or language barriers, those living in rural areas, and veterans.

Goals of the plan include:

  • Developing and promoting digital skills and technical support programs that directly serve residents;
  • Ensuring residents have options for getting online that are affordable and meet their needs; and
  • Expanding digital government services at the state and local levels.

Funding to support the development of the plan, as well as the potential future implementation funding for which Connecticut plans to apply, comes from the Biden-Harris administration’s Internet for All Initiative, which was created as part of the 2021 Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and will make the state eligible for implementation funds to expand Connecticut residents’ access to affordable, high-speed internet, devices, and training.

“Federal acceptance of Connecticut’s digital equity plan means more than eligibility for implementation funding,” DAS Commissioner Michelle Gilman said. “It is a recognition of the incredible work of the Commission for Educational Technology team. In particular, Doug Casey and Lauren Thompson worked tirelessly to research the obstacles residents faced, write a detailed draft report, and solicit and incorporate significant feedback from stakeholders. I am confident that their work will lead to better connectivity opportunities for many Connecticut residents.”

“Today, Connecticut is taking a major step toward closing the digital divide,” Angela Thi Bennett, director of digital equity for NTIA, said. “The state's digital equity plan will make certain everyone in Connecticut possesses the digital skills, tools, and capacity to thrive.”

“The Connecticut Digital Equity Plan does not require the public to obtain access to high-speed internet that they do not want,” Mark Raymond, chairman of the Commission for Educational Technology and state chief information officer, said. “This plan addresses the difficult topic of the public being left out of opportunities because they cannot afford or do not appreciate how being connected can improve their lives.”

“We are thrilled that the Connecticut Digital Equity Plan is approved with no changes – essentially a ‘perfect score,’” Doug Casey, executive director of the Commission for Educational Technology, said. “Our research points to the immediate need to address the digital skills gap in our state. We now have a green light to apply for funding to address that need through training and digital navigation investments.”

“’Connecticut: Everyone Connected’ underscores our collective commitment to bridging the digital divide, ensuring equitable access to digital resources for all residents,” Digital Equity Program Manager Lauren Thompson said. “Through our collaborative efforts and strategic goals, we aim to empower communities, foster digital inclusion, and drive meaningful change for residents of Connecticut. We are thrilled to see the acceptance of Connecticut’s digital equity plan by the NTIA. This milestone opens doors to $18 million in Capacity Grant funds, propelling our team’s mission forward.”

**Download: Connecticut’s Digital Equity Plan, “Connecticut: Everyone Connected”

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