The North Carolina Broadband Infrastructure Office has released its Digital Inclusion Plan Template and Guide this week to help local governments create plans to close the state’s digital divide.
According to the department, the guide is a reference allowing municipalities to design their own plans for managing their technological and infrastructural needs and assets. So far, officials said, 14 communities across the state have used the model to formulate initiatives to “level the playing field” for families who lack broadband access and devices needed for remote work and school.
“As the need for the internet has grown, so have people who do not have access to or cannot afford the technologies, tools and skills needed to participate in our digital world,” said North Carolina CIO Jim Weaver in a press release. . “Bridging this digital divide and achieving digital equity is essential for our residents and our state to thrive.”
The guide comes a year after the Broadband Infrastructure Office partnered with the Institute for Emerging Issues (IEI) to launch its Building a New Digital Economy in NC (BAND-NC), which funds local digital inclusion plans.
“We are thrilled with the official launch of BIO’s Digital Inclusion Plan Template and Guide,” IEI Director Leslie Boney said in the press release. “We hope that communities applying for grants under this upcoming round of BAND-NC grants will use this resource to create digital inclusion plans to benefit their residents.”