In 2022, Governor Brad Little designated the Idaho Commission for Libraries (ICfL) as the lead agency to develop a collaborative Digital Access for All Idahoans Plan. Each state and territory is required to have a plan in place that addresses digital adoption by September 30, 2023 as part of the Digital Equity Act (DEA). This plan will dovetail with the Idaho Broadband Strategic Plan for 2022-2027 and the Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) state plan that will soon be developed by the Idaho Broadband Advisory Board and the Idaho Department of Commerce.
We are working with over 100 Idaho state agencies, nonprofits, and other groups to identify the barriers to widespread broadband adoption. The state should receive $564,706 in funds from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) to help fund the planning process. Initial plans include hosting regional listening and planning convenings, conducting a telephone survey in English and Spanish to gather data on adoption barriers, facilitating city and county Broadband Action Teams, developing a collaborative vision statement, and setting measurable goals to accomplish during the next five years. In the second year, implementation funding will be made available from the NTIA to states with approved digital adoption plans.