North Carolina Grants $30M ARPA Funds for Digital Equity

The money will improve access to low-income households and minority groups.

North Carolina Grants $30M ARPA Funds for Digital Equity
Photo of Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina

June 20, 2024 – North Carolina’s Digital Champion grant program awarded $30 million on Tuesday to bridge the digital divide, funding 63 community service organizations, nonprofits, higher education institutions, and regional entities in the state.

The program, funded by American Rescue Plan Act, provided a list of awardees with project descriptions which aim to expand digital equity programming and advance digital inclusion and opportunities in the state, enabling access to and utilization of high-speed internet.

"All North Carolinians need the resources and skills to safely and effectively use high-speed internet and benefit from the opportunities it offers,” said Gov. Roy Cooper in a press release. “Digital Champion grants will help more families take part in our increasingly digital world to work, learn, access vital telehealth services and connect with others online.”

The funding aims to serve underserved populations by providing internet access in low-income rural households, elderly residents, incarcerated or justice-involved individuals, veterans, individuals with disabilities, those with language barriers, and members of racial or ethnic minority groups. The Digital Champion grants fund projects that increase affordability of high-speed internet, improve access to digital literacy and skills training, and provide quality technical support.

Earlier this month, North Carolina Broadband Director Maggie Woods from the North Carolina Office of Digital Equity and Literacy announced that the state is also taking a leading effort to expand digital equity and inclusion initiatives by partnering with educational institutions, awarding grants to a total of 11 recipients in the state.

Woods outlined the state’s five key strategies to close the digital divide and emphasized that "100 percent of households with children [must] subscribe to high-speed internet.”

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