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California Department of Technology
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California Unlocks $70.2 Million to Close the Digital Divide

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (April 5, 2024) – Why it matters: The approved California State Digital Equity Plan unlocks $70.2 million in federal dollars for initiatives that make affordable internet service, state-of-the-art devices, and digital literacy training accessible to Californians who currently face barriers to digital equity.

Sacramento-The California Department of Technology (CDT) today announced a major advancement toward closing the digital divide with the approval of California’s State Digital Equity Plan by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA).

What Governor Newsom said: “This is more than an investment in technology, it is an investment in the people and future of California. We stand at a pivotal moment in our promise to build a future that is more inclusive and equitable for every Californian,” said Governor Gavin Newsom. “The approval of our State Digital Equity Plan marks a significant success in our commitment to ensuring that every person in our state has access to essential digital devices, affordable internet access, and the digital literacy skills needed to thrive in the 21st century.”

The NTIA’s approval of the State Digital Equity Plan positions California to receive a Digital Equity Capacity Grant funded by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021. The $70.2 million will support initiatives that make affordable internet service, state-of-the-art devices, and digital literacy training accessible to Californians. This is a major win for California’s Broadband for All—Governor Newsom’s initiative to ensure access to reliable and affordable broadband for everyone in the state. Now, the state will pivot from planning to action.

“Today, California is taking a major step toward closing the digital divide,” said Angela Thi Bennett, director of digital equity, NTIA. “The state’s digital equity plan will make certain everyone in California possesses the digital skills, tools, and capacity to thrive.”

“The approval of California’s Digital Equity Plan marks a transformative chapter in California’s commitment to Broadband for All,” said Secretary of Government Operations Amy Tong. “We are now poised to turn our comprehensive plan into action, ensuring that every Californian has the tools and training they need to thrive in a digitally connected world.”

In August 2020, Governor Newsom signed Executive Order N-73-20 to improve digital connectivity across the state. Building on that, in 2022, the Governor signed AB 2750 (Bonta) which directed CDT along with other state partners to develop a state digital equity plan.  Since then, CDT together with over 50,000 residents, partners, tribal communities, advocates, and local governments across the state has worked to develop measurable strategies to close the digital divide included in the State Digital Equity Plan.

“In passing Assembly Bill 2750, we made a clear statement: Digital equity is a civil rights issue of our time, and California is committed to addressing it head-on,” said Assemblymember Mia Bonta of California’s 18th District (Oakland). “The approval of our State Digital Equity Plan by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration is a significant milestone in this journey. This plan, developed in consultation with stakeholders and experts, will pave the way for bridging the digital divide in our state. With $70.2 million unlocked for implementation, we are poised to make tangible strides in ensuring all Californians have access to high-speed internet and digital skills. AB 2750 sets a foundation for equitable access to essential services, job opportunities, and education. Together, we’re building a more inclusive and connected California.”

“I am proud of the work done in partnership with residents and advocates across California to build the State Digital Equity Plan,” said State Chief Information Officer and Department of Technology Director Liana Bailey-Crimmins. “We look forward to implementing the plan with our community partners, because there is no equity without digital equity.”

CDT anticipates receiving California’s funds later this summer. The department expects to begin distributing those funds through grants in spring 2025 to implement the strategies in the State Digital Equity Plan.


What our Partners are Saying

“I want to commend the California Department of Technology for promoting equitable access to broadband across our state,” said San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) and San Diego County Supervisor Chairwoman Nora Vargas. “SANDAG’s Digital Equity initiatives, included in the Regional Plan, and the State Digital Equity Plan are of strategic value to San Diego, and I look forward to working together to close the digital gap in our communities, because a more connected San Diego is a healthier and stronger San Diego.”

“AARP California applauds the California Department of Technology for the comprehensive discussion and analysis of the challenges to and benefits from achieving digital equity, as well as for the development of a thoughtful State Digital Equity Plan that provides a roadmap to ensure Californians of all ages and abilities have access to high-speed internet,” stated Nancy McPherson, AARP California State Director.

“With the official establishment and forthcoming implementation of the Countywide Intergovernmental Broadband Coordinating Committee (IBCC), the County of Los Angeles is excited to collaborate and partner with city leaders, regional community partners, and the community to implement key strategies from the California State Digital Equity Plan as part of applying and securing Digital Equity Capacity Grant Program funding,” said County of Los Angeles Director of Digital Equity Rebecca F. Kauma. “Advancing digital equity and inclusion is a Countywide priority and this statewide grant program funding will ensure that Los Angeles County residents who are most in need have equitable access to and use of digital inclusion resources and services.”

“The SF Tech Council and our stakeholders were motivated by our participation in the State’s Digital Equity planning process and were inspired to create San Francisco’s first-ever Digital Equity Plan for Older Adults and People with Disabilities,” said SF Tech Council Co-Director Karla Suomala. “We look forward to partnering with the state and the NTIA to leverage funding opportunities to implement our plan.”

“Broadband has become essential infrastructure for the 21st century, but far too many people – particularly those in low-income communities – continue to be left out in the cold,” said Darin Chidsey, chief operating officer of the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG). “SCAG supports the State Digital Equity Plan’s vision and is committed to partnering with the state on closing the digital divide, which is critical to addressing economic and social disparities across Southern California.”

“Self-Help for the Elderly provides digital learning programs to low-income residents, seniors, and youth in San Francisco’s Chinatown and throughout the Bay Area, said President & CEO, Self-Help for the Elderly Anni Chung.” “It’s been an honor to contribute to the development of the State’s Digital Equity Plan. We look forward to applying for future capacity grants made possible by federal funding to implement the Digital Equity Plan.”

“The San Diego Futures Foundation is proud to partner with the State of California in developing this ground-breaking State Digital Equity Plan,” said San Diego Futures Foundation Acting Executive Director Kevin Morningstar. “The initiatives that will be funded through the state’s plan are critical to organizations like ours, who are doing the work and enabling the services and support that help low-income families and immigrant communities.” 


About Broadband for All

Broadband for All is the state’s overarching program to close the digital divide and foster digital equity and inclusion. The state has invested billions of dollars to achieve Broadband for All and ensure that every resident has access to affordable and reliable internet, devices, and skills training.

Learn more about California’s Broadband for All work at: