North Carolina Launches Digital Equity Grant Program

The program sets aside $14 million in ARPA funds for digital literacy and affordability efforts.

North Carolina Launches Digital Equity Grant Program
Photo of North Carolina Gouverner Roy Cooper in 2017 from the North Carolina Department of Transportation.

WASHINGTON, November 10, 2023 – North Carolina launched on Thursday a digital equity grant program with American Rescue Plan Act funds.

The $14 million Digital Champions Grant Program will fund digital literacy efforts in the state, with eligible uses including digital skills trainings, device subsidies, broadband affordability programs, and technical support efforts.

Projects funded by the program will have to support at least one population targeted by the 2021 Digital Equity Act, like low-income, rural, and racial minority households.

“This program will help ensure that every resident of our state is part of today’s digital economy and can work, learn, access telehealth and connect with others online,” said North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper in a statement on the program.

The state also released a draft of its Broadband Equity, Access and Deployment initial proposal this week, detailing North Carolina’s plans for administering its $1.5 billion allocating under the program. That proposal earmarks $50 million of that for digital literacy efforts.

For-profit entities are not eligible to apply for Digital Champions grants, with applicants being limited to local governments, school systems, nonprofits, and colleges and universities.

Projects will be eligible for $400,00 per county served, with a cap of $1.5 million.

The application window for funding under the program closes on January 9, 2024. Winners are slated to be announced by March 2024.

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