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Fact Sheet: Introduction to the State Digital Equity (DE) Capacity Grant Program

March 29, 2024

This document is intended solely to assist recipients in better understanding the State Digital Equity Capacity Grant program (SDECGP) and the requirements set forth in the Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) for this program. This document does not and is not intended to supersede, modify, or otherwise alter applicable statutory or regulatory requirements, or the specific application requirements set forth in the NOFO. In all cases, statutory and regulatory mandates, and the requirements set forth in the NOFO, shall prevail over any inconsistencies contained in this document.

What is the State Digital Equity Capacity Grant Program?

Previously, the State Digital Equity Planning Grant provided States and Territories funds to develop Digital Equity Plans. This second Program will make funds available to put the Digital Equity Plans into action. States and Territories must ensure they are reaching all of the Covered Populations within their jurisdiction.

Note: Certain Native Entities are also eligible to apply for Capacity Grant and Planning Grant funding through a competitive process

What led to this program? 

All Eligible Entities Developed Their Digital Equity Plan

With Planning Grant funding, for the first time in America’s history, all 56 States and Territories now have a State Digital Equity Plan.

NTIA Will Make Funds Available to Implement These Plans

The Capacity Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) will make funds available to begin implementation of accepted State and U.S. Territory Digital Equity Plans.

Who are the covered populations?

The purpose of the Program is to create the conditions where individuals and communities have the information technology capacity that is needed for full participation in the society and economy of the United States.

  • Individuals who live in covered households (defined as households with income of not more than 150% of the poverty level)
  • Aging individuals aged 60 and older
  • Incarcerated individuals (as defined by the State or Territory), other than individuals who are incarcerated in a Federal correctional facility
  • Veterans
  • Individuals with disabilities
  • Individuals with a language barrier, including individuals who are English learners and have low levels of literacy
  • Individuals who are members of a racial or ethnic minority group; and
  • Individuals who primarily reside in a
    rural area

How is the funding allocation determined? 

NTIA used a formula as defined in the NOFO to determine awards.

  • 50% Based on Total Population - Fifty percent is based on the population of the Eligible State in proportion to the total population of all Eligible States
  • 25% Based on Covered Populations - Twenty five percent is based on the number of individuals in the Eligible State who are members of a covered population, compared to the number of covered populations in all States
  • 25% Based on Broadband Availability and Adoption - Twenty five percent is based on the comparative lack of availability and adoption of broadband in the Eligible State relative to all Eligible States

Who is eligible to receive funds? 

Eligible States and Territories | Grantees that have completed a Digital Equity Plan that meets the requirements of 47 U.S.C. §1723(c) can apply for grants under this Program.

  • Eligible States - All 50 states and Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico are eligible.
  • One Percent (1%) Territory Set-Aside - United States Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands are eligible.

Eligible Native Entities | Native Entities, or a consortium of Native Entities, can apply for both Capacity Grant and Planning Grant funding to promote the objectives of digital equity and inclusion through a competitive grant program.

  • Eligible Native Entities - Indian Tribes, Alaska Native entities, and Native Hawaiian organizations that meet the eligibility criteria outlined in the NOFO may apply.

Note - Native Entities will have a competitive grant program described in a separate portion of the NOFO.

How can digital equity capacity grant funds be spent? 

Grantees must be sure to only spend their funds on allowed, eligible uses of funds:

Eligible use of FundingDescription
Updating or Maintaining PlansTo update or maintain the State Digital Equity Plan of the State or Territory. Note that grantees are capped at 20% of their grant amount to update and maintain plans.
Implementing PlansTo implement the State Digital Equity Plan of the State or Territory

To make subgrants to any of the eligible entities identified to:

  • Assist in the implementation of the Digital Equity Plan of the State or Territory;
  • Pursue digital inclusion activities in the State or Territory consistent with the Digital Equity Plan of the State or Territory; and
  • Report to the State or Territory regarding the digital inclusion activities of the entity
EvaluationTo evaluate the efficacy of the efforts funded by grants made to subgrantees. Note that grantees are capped at 5% of their grant amount for evaluation.
Administrative CostsFor administrative costs (exclusive of costs for program evaluation and updating the Digital Equity plan) incurred in carrying out the activities described above. Note that grantees are capped at 3% of their grant amount for administrative costs.

Key Milestones and Deadlines

Period of Performance | States and US Territories will be able to spend down grant funds during the 5-year period of performance beginning on the date when the State is awarded grant funds.

Application Due Dates 

  • For States, D.C., and Puerto Rico: May 28, 2024 
  • For U.S. Territories: July 31st, 2024
  • For Native Entities: Application window opens on September 25, 2024 Application window closes February 7, 2025

Issuing Awards | NTIA expects to begin issuing awards to Eligible States on a rolling basis no later than August 28, 2024.

Download the PDF version at BroadbandUSA - COMING SOON