This Federal Agency is Spending $300 Million on ‘Digital Equity’

Not even to address it... just to come up with a plan about it.

The U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration has a new grant program giving out $300 million to promote digital equity, according to a recent grant notice.

The $300 million in funding for the State Digital Equity Planning Grant Program appropriated by Congress is intended to help states develop “digital equity plans.” These plans should “identify barriers to digital equity in the State and strategies for overcoming those barriers.”

A special emphasis on digital equity for Native Americans is expected in states with large indigenous populations. Digital equity is defined by the Department of Commerce as “the condition in which individuals and communities have the information technology capacity that is needed for full participation in the society and economy of the United States.”

It’s important to note that this program isn’t for delivering digital equity. This $300 million is just for states to come up with a plan.

Most of the programs’ goals focus on broadband access, but there is also much that is left up to states’ discretion. The notice claims “Internet connectivity itself is a necessary, but not sufficient, condition for eradicating the digital divide. Many on the wrong side of that divide require equipment, digital skills, financial resources, and more to realize the Internet’s full potential. Those who lack these resources face substantial barriers to digital equity, even in places where fast broadband connections are physically available.”

Whether achieving digital equity through expanded broadband access is a laudable goal or not is separate from the absurdity of spending $300 million just to come up with a plan for it.

The #WasteOfTheDay is brought to you by the forensic auditors at OpenTheBooks.com. This article originally appeared on RealClearPolicy. 

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