5. Digital Equity Plan Implementation Strategy & Key Activities

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This Digital Equity Plan will help realize the vision of Broadband for All through seven key activities: 

  1. Complete Broadband for All infrastructure investments within federal and state deadlines.
  2. Convene digital equity stakeholders to strengthen collaboration. 
  3. Refine digital equity data and maps. 
  4. Develop a California Connect Corps digital equity capacity grant program to expand statewide and community-based digital navigation and digital inclusion programs.
  5. Fund and expand existing State-managed digital inclusion programs.
  6. Develop and promote digital inclusion tools and best practices.
  7. Secure consumer subsidy program sustainability. 

While CDT will be responsible for overall Digital Equity Plan implementation, in alignment with managing Broadband for All, all Californians have a role in implementing this Plan and shaping how these activities are completed. This section provides an overview of each activity and its relationship to the objectives outlined in Section 2.5 and demonstrates how these activities will address specific barriers for covered populations and support priority policy outcomes statewide. It also provides an overview of how CDT will collaborate to deliver and use a range of funding sources to ensure this Plan not only accelerates progress toward the State’s goals but also creates a framework for programmatic sustainability and the ability to adapt to evolving digital equity needs over time. There will also be future opportunities for all members of the public to be consulted on how these activities are implemented.

5.1 Key Activities 

1. Complete Broadband for All infrastructure investments within federal and state deadlines.

CDT, CPUC, and other State agencies tasked with building out broadband infrastructure will continue and expedite the build-out of existing Broadband for All investments and BEAD-funded projects. Increasing the miles constructed, the number of ISPs providing service, and the number of connected homes, businesses, and community anchor institutions, will increase the level and quality of internet service available to residents in California. 

  • Continue to leverage and explore all current and future funding. Multiple state agencies already provide funding in support of digital equity, and these agencies will work to ensure they are seeking the maximum in federal and State funding to support this work, as well as leveraging private investment through public-private partnerships that serve the public interest.  
  • Coordinate and deploy last-mile programs to connect to MMBI. MMBI is a catalytic investment to enable last-mile broadband infrastructure buildouts in communities throughout the state. This Plan recognizes CPUC’s critical role in providing capital funding for such buildouts and CDT’s role in ensuring quality, cost-effective MMBI connections. Nonetheless, many other activities in this Plan will also strengthen last-mile programs by supporting service adoption, which is essential to the long-term operational sustainability of those networks. 
  • Ensure new broadband infrastructure is resilient to wildfires and disasters. Given California’s susceptibility to natural disasters, such as wildfires and earthquakes, this Plan recognizes the need to ensure that infrastructure deployments include best practices for resiliency. 
  • Promote interim alternative technology solutions. Support the development of public/private partnerships to explore ways to develop and promote alternative technology solutions, as some communities cannot wait for broadband infrastructure to be built out.  
  • Promote the use of inclusive apprenticeships throughout network development. As the network grows, so does the demand for jobs. This Plan encourages the creation of public-private partnerships for broadband infrastructure and tech training programs, with a particular focus on hiring and training local individuals who are part of covered populations and those who live in communities that have historically been under-connected.  

2. Convene digital equity stakeholders to strengthen collaboration.

Californians working in digital inclusion have much to learn from one another, from sharing lived experiences to lessons learned from implementing digital inclusion programs on the ground. CDT will work to further strengthen partnerships by sustaining engagement and collaboration with organizations that provide digital inclusion services. This will include extending forums for engagement and outreach developed prior to and during the digital equity planning process to consult and empower covered populations and other digitally disadvantaged communities to help plan and implement strategies to achieve digital equity. Those intended to be served must be involved in planning and delivering the services. More details on these efforts can be found in Section 5.6. 

3. Refine digital equity data and maps.

Mapping is a complex issue that is guided by federal and state statutes and requirements that vary by program. CDT and CPUC will continue to work with stakeholders to update maps consistent with federal and state statutes and programmatic requirements, incorporate public input and improve transparency of the State’s broadband mapping and data during the SDEP and BEAD implementation process.

CPUC is actively working to improve statewide data regarding broadband availability and related attributes from ISPs. Enacted in 2023, Assembly Bill 286 (Wood) – Broadband infrastructure: mapping, requires additional information and user-features to be included on the interactive broadband map that is published and maintained by the CPUC. AB 286 will allow users to submit specified self-reported data and requires CPUC to validate self-reported data before using that data as evidence in a proceeding.

CDT will also work to develop improved systems to track the impact of Broadband for All investments to inform future policy and funding decisions and ensure that the state is receiving its fair share of federal resources. As part of a new digital equity grant program, CDT may fund and provide resources to increase the capacity of other entities to contribute to mapping and other data-tracking efforts. CDT will also continue to invest in other data systems developed or improved for the development of this Digital Equity Plan, including statewide digital equity surveys. The State will refresh the survey data regularly and make its data publicly available, based on input from stakeholders on how to do so effectively.

4. Develop a California Connect Corps digital equity capacity grant program to expand statewide and community-based digital inclusion programs. 

The state will develop a the California Connect Corps (CCC) digital equity capacity grant program to support statewide and nonprofit organizations to conduct outreach to underserved populations to advance digital inclusion. CCC grantees would receive paid compensation, free IT career training, and supportive services during their term of service.[1] The program will prioritize partnering with statewide and nonprofit organizations that already conduct digital navigation services, particularly among unserved and covered populations, to maximize opportunities to  assist in-language and in-culture. Other functions of the CCC will include assisting with enrollment in broadband affordability subsidies, providing technical assistance with broadband-connected devices, and offering digital literacy classes. The CCC digital equity capacity grant program will be developed with input from digital inclusion practitioners, nonprofits, community-based organizations, local governments, and members of covered populations to ensure the program is designed to serve the communities it is intended to reach. The CCC digital equity capacity grant programs will also be designed to be as flexible and nimble as possible under NTIA grant regulations to support existing entities and new entities who wish to expand existing or provide new digital navigation services to members of covered populations and communities.

The state will also fund local and tribal governments, community anchor institutions, community-based organizations, and other digital inclusion service providers to deliver comprehensive digital inclusion programs that overcome the three primary barriers for low-income households to achieve universal adoption: sign up for affordable home internet service; acquire an affordable computing device; and access digital literacy training to become digitally proficient.  

This program will be designed primarily to deliver services in a number of modalities, in-person where feasible and as capacity funding allows, to people where they live and gather – bringing services to wherever the people are instead of requiring people to come to the services. Programs that enable the delivery of digital inclusion services from “trusted messengers” in existing statewide, community-based organizations, and institutions – social workers, health workers (e.g., promotores), educators, librarians, coaches, or faith-based mentors – who can provide support in the communities and languages in which it is needed most are essential to fostering adoption.

Examples of activities that may be eligible for funding through this grant program include: 

  • Development of local digital equity plans. 
  • Broadband adoption efforts focusing on enrollment in affordable internet service programs.  
  • Flexible grants to existing CBOs and new entities including promotors and health navigators.  
  • Digital literacy training. 
  • Digital navigation for residents.  
  • Digital navigation for tribes, towns, cities, and counties.  
  • Targeted device distribution programs to ensure devices are relevant and useful, and hardware and software sensitive to specific needs for specific covered populations.  
  • Establishment of computer labs/digital literacy training programs at community centers (Senior Centers, Veterans Halls).  
  • Workforce development training and apprenticeships (broadband infrastructure and tech jobs). 
  • Additional use of funds suggested during public comment will be considered in consultation with subject matter experts and stakeholders and included to the extent allowable by federal capacity grant rules and restrictions.

5. Fund new and expand existing State-managed digital inclusion programs.

The State will continue to work to improve and expand the myriad digital inclusion programs and services offered by State agencies and other statewide partners identified in Section 3. Examples of state managed programs (see Appendix D) that could be funded include the California State Library Connected California program and the California Department of Aging’s Access to Technology program, or programs operated by workforce development agencies, such as the California Workforce Development Board, or institutions of higher-education, such as the California State University system.[2] State-managed programs will also support and complement local and regional efforts.

6. Develop and promote digital inclusion tools and best practices. 

Digital inclusion programs that reach the hardest to connect are best delivered in a hyper-local manner, in and by the communities most disconnected, in the languages and cultures of those communities. Nonetheless, locally based digital inclusion service providers repeatedly cite a lack of capacity to deliver these programs at the scale needed. Part of the solution to capacity-building can be to provide standard tools and resources that these providers can use and customize for their communities, saving time and cost while building on best-demonstrated practices from other providers across the state. 

CDT will lead the development of new tools and resources aimed at making it easier for locally based digital inclusion providers to realize their goals. For example, CDT will draft a public-facing handbook in collaboration with local digital inclusion practitioners that includes an overview of best practices and a menu of tools to promote digital inclusion. The State will continue to expand and promote statewide digital inclusion resources, including this handbook, in multiple languages so that digital equity collaborators from all communities may design, develop, and deliver effective digital inclusion programs. 

  • Fund and make available a statewide digital literacy training platform(s). CDT will collaborate with subject matter experts within the State Library system, Department of Education, Department of Aging and higher education institutions in California, along with digital literacy leaders such as CETF, OATS, Community Tech Network, EveryoneOn, to develop a learning management system(s) (LMS) with accessible online digital skills modules and assessments that are multilingual and standardized for use across the state. This LMS will share existing and new CDT and State resources on privacy and online security with local jurisdictions, community-based organizations, and within the educational community. SDEP encourages entities to  embed digital literacy and skills training at all levels of K-12 education, including higher education, with a focus on online privacy and cybersecurity.
  • Procure a statewide multilingual digital literacy training framework and certificate program. CDT will work with its partners in State government and digital literacy providers serving each covered population in communities throughout the state to integrate best practices in digital literacy training into a common framework and certificate program that support providers’ capacity to deliver digital literacy services tailored to their communities, including by ensuring that such programs are aligned to the parameters of funding opportunities like the forthcoming Digital Equity Competitive Grants from NTIA. This will include the development of a complementary framework and certificate program to support providers’ capacity to provide services consistent with universal design standards and promote the accessibility of assistive technology for all (including the training necessary to use it).
  • Build the statewide asset inventory as a common resource for local governments, social service, workforce development, and healthcare organizations, and for all Californians. CDT will expand its efforts in digital inclusion asset mapping further as a result of the Digital Ecosystem Mapping tool to create a common public database of digital inclusion service providers in communities across the state and make that data available to all Californians in an interactive online resource. This effort will help connect residents and community-based groups identify the services of locally based digital inclusion service providers, as well as track where the State and local governments may need to fill gaps in the services offered to meet the needs of all covered populations and digitally disadvantaged communities. The asset inventory will be continually updated based on updates to the DEEM tool and regular iterations of the survey. An asset map for incarcerated individuals will also be developed to support implementation activities. 

7. Promote low-cost service offers, subsidy programs, such as the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), and advocate for a sustainable successor program.

Although this Plan calls for multiple measures to overcome the fact that cost is the primary barrier to internet adoption, including billions of dollars in publicly-funded network development and the promotion of consumer choice and competition among ISPs, the State also recognizes that many low-income households will continue to need to rely on subsidized service so that they are not forced to choose between Internet service and mobile service, or even putting food on the table.

  • Bundle outreach for low-cost offers with other services (NSLP, Medicaid, WIC, Pell Grants). If an eligible household is seeking multiple government benefits, it would be easier for them to sign up for all of them at the same time. CDT will work with its partners in the State government and other public benefits service providers to integrate low-cost offers into other public benefits outreach and enrollment efforts. 
  • Continue to track eligibility and adoption rates of low-cost offers and subsidy programs statewide to understand and demonstrate California’s level of need. Using this data, CDT will work with its partners statewide and in local governments to continue to establish robust public outreach campaigns for ACP and other subsidy programs to encourage uptake, ensuring all eligible parties understand and can access the subsidies available to them through persistent statewide and hyperlocal promotion and awareness campaigns. 
  • Provide enrollment assistance in low-cost offers, ACP, and other subsidies and successor programs to covered populations. The enrollment process for low-cost offers is not particularly easy. Providing support for covered populations as they enroll in low-cost offers would help ensure that they successfully receive internet access. 
  • Advocate for improvement of enrollment processes for low-cost offers, other subsidies and successor programs, including low-cost offers and middle-class plans offered by BEAD subgrantees. While the intent of the ACP is well-regarded, there are modifications to the program that can be made that could make the application process easier and ensure that more households are able to access the benefits.  
  • Advocate for an extension of ACP or a successor program or develop a state-led affordable offer. The ACP is no longer accepting new applicants as the funds are scheduled to run out in April 2024. With funding for the program uncertain, CDT and CPUC have advocated that Congress allocate funding to continue the program. California will continue to work with elected officials to support a permanent funding mechanism or similar subsidy program. The State may also consider developing a state-level program that complements federal programs to ensure internet access is accessible and affordable for those Californians who remain in need.  
  • Pursue a data-matching agreement between the state and federal government for subsidy eligibility. California’s high cost of living relative to other states limits federal poverty thresholds from including all Californians who need a subsidy like the ACP. The State and Federal government should collaborate to determine a data point that effectively represents those in California that ACP was intended to serve and can be used to determine in-state eligibility. Each of these key activities will be designed to help the State realize its objectives.

The following tables provides an overview of the relationship between the key activities and objectives of this Plan: 

Relationship between key activities and objectives
Goals & Objectives Key Activities
Complete Infrastructure Convene Evolve Data CA Connect Corps / Digital Equity Grant Program Expand State Efforts Promote Tools Secure Subsidies
Goal 1: All Californians have high-performance broadband available at home, schools, libraries, and businesses.
1.1 Increase the percentage of Californians that are connected to broadband Internet service
1.2 Increase the percentage of Community Anchor Institutions that are connected to broadband Internet service.
1.3 Increase the percentage of Californians who report their Internet service is reliable.
1.4 Increase the percentage of Californians that have a choice of at least three internet service providers.

Relationship between key activities and objectives
Goals & Objectives Key Activities
Complete Infrastructure Convene Evolve Data CA Connect Corps / Digital Equity Grant Program Expand State Efforts Promote Tools Secure Subsidies
Goal 2: All Californians have access to affordable broadband and necessary devices.
2.1 Decrease the percentage of Californians that cite cost as the primary barrier to broadband service.
2.2 Reduce the percentage of Californians who rely solely on a smartphone to use the Internet.
2.3 Increase the percentage of Californians enrolled in low-cost Internet options and subsidies, including the Affordable Connectivity Program.
2.4 Reduce the average cost that covered populations pay for Internet service.

Relationship between key activities and objectives
Goals & Objectives Key Activities
Complete Infrastructure Convene Evolve Data CA Connect Corps / Digital Equity Grant Program Expand State Efforts Promote Tools Secure Subsidies
Goal 3: All Californians can access training and support to enable digital inclusion.
3.1 Increase the availability of digital literacy, cybersecurity, and skills training programs.
3.2 Increase the percentage of Californians who have access to technical support services for Internet-connected devices.
3.3 Reduce the percentage of Californians whose concerns for privacy and cybersecurity prevents broadband adoption or effective use.
3.4 Increase the percentage of Californians who possess basic, intermediate, and advanced digital literacy skills.
3.5 Expand the number of broadband infrastructure and technology jobs among covered populations.
3.6 Increase the percentage of Californians who utilize the internet to apply for or use public benefits and other essential services and are able to participate in civic and social engagement online.

5.2 Connections to Covered Populations 

Each of the key activities outlined above will benefit all covered populations. Nonetheless, recognizing the different baselines for these populations identified in Section 3.4, CDT recognizes that some key activities must be more targeted to certain populations whose needs are greater than others. Some examples of these targeted relationships include MMBI delivering greater access to rural communities and improving consumer choice in predominantly minority and ethnic communities, redoubled efforts related to securing the sustainability of subsidies and improving related processes to benefit covered households, and the State developing a California Connect Corps digital equity capacity grant program to provide new funding for programs that will specifically focus on each covered population. These are a few examples of how the State will tailor its key activities to suit the specific needs of each covered population. 

5.3 Closing Gaps in Existing Efforts

Section 3.2 of this Plan identifies a series of key gaps in existing efforts to achieve the State’s Broadband for All vision, including the need for greater funding and sustainability for organizations providing digital inclusion services, additional staff, and organizational capacity for organizations in the broadband industry, difficulty accessing and applying for funding, and the need for greater community awareness. The implementation strategy and key activities included in this Plan are designed to directly address these gaps.

Funding and sustainability were the top reported barriers to entities being able to provide digital inclusion services to residents. This Plan proposes the development of the California Connect Corps digital equity capacity grant program (Key Activity 4) that will provide funding to organizations whose impact could be expanded if more funds were available to communities who currently have too few digital inclusion programs to meet the needs of the covered populations they serve.

Another gap that was identified was the staff and organizational capacity to effectively serve more these critical communities. This Plan intends to support the improvement of statewide tools for digital inclusion services and promote best practices. When combined with efforts to improve consumer subsidies and the development of improved data systems, this key activity will help fill capacity gaps, including in-language capacity, in existing organizations by making work more efficient and reducing redundancies. State-managed efforts will endeavor to support these gaps by developing tools and resources to support grantees and other partners in their digital efforts and making them available on the Broadband for All portal.

Accessing and applying for funding was also highlighted as a barrier for digital equity organizations. This Plan includes a mechanism for providing funds to state entities conducting digital inclusion services, such as providing technical assistance for grant applications to organizations in need of said support. This Plan also includes strategies for ongoing collaboration to allow organizations to learn from each other and maximize funding opportunities through potential partnerships.

Additionally, stronger coordination and collaboration among organizations providing digital inclusions services could benefit all entities. Working together reduces redundancy and the duplication of efforts, promotes the sharing of resources and best practices, and reduces costs for all organizations. This plan will provide support to digital inclusion organizations to develop and strengthen these partnerships. This SDEP and related digital equity capacity and competitive grants will support digital equity organizations in conducting outreach and engagement to covered populations by working with trusted messengers to ensure the community members are aware of the digital inclusion services being offered in their area. The California Connect Corps digital equity capacity grant program will be instrumental in this effort.

Nonetheless, as the State works to implement this Plan, it will continue to refine its understanding of gaps in the digital equity ecosystem and tailor its core activities to address those gaps accordingly.

5.4 Delivering in Priority Outcome Areas

As mentioned in Section 2.2, this Plan is designed not only to achieve digital equity but also to support statewide policy outcomes in education, health, digital literacy and inclusion, workforce and economic development, essential services, civic accessibility and public engagement, and tribal collaboration.  


Achieving the objectives identified in this plan will positively benefit educational outcomes in the State through continued partnership with Statewide Planning Group members and the Education Outcome Area Working Group. Key collaborators in this effort include the CDE (including Adult Education), UC, CSU, CCC, County Offices of Education, and local school districts, and these entities will be key partners in the implementation process. One of CDE’s goals is that every child has access to a world-class education, including access to education technology. Achieving the State’s objectives will support this goal by helping to ensure that students and educators have access to home internet and devices that can be used in remote and digital learning environments. According to data collected through Get Connected! California ACP Enrollment Events, nearly half (47%) of families with school-aged children reported that schools do not allow devices to go home with students. This presents a significant opportunity to leverage schools as key community anchor institutions and incorporate digital inclusion efforts in existing school programs. 

Additionally, developing targeted marketing and engagement strategies to increase enrollment in low-cost and subsidy internet programs will support the State’s education goals by easing the cost burden of home internet for students’ families. Lastly, increasing digital literacy training and resources will empower students, families, and educators to use technology more effectively to engage in education. 


Access to broadband and internet adoption are social determinants of health,[3] therefore, improved access through any of the objectives, stands to positively influence the health of Californians. Improved access to affordable broadband infrastructure will enable more widespread deployment and adoption of virtual healthcare services, and access to online health insurance resources. Improving the accessibility and inclusivity of public resources and services also stands to improve eligible individuals’ ability to access social service benefits offered by multiple state agencies (e.g., healthcare via Covered CA (DHCS), public housing (CDHS), educational resources (CDE), nutrition assistance (CDSS), COVID-19 vaccinations (CDPH), unemployment benefits (EDD), elderly services (CalHHS). Increased digital literacy programming, tailored to specific populations, will improve how patients, providers, and caretakers navigate telehealth services.[4] Device access and affordability are necessary for virtual healthcare services to be effectively deployed. This work will be supported by the Statewide Implementation Group and the Health Outcome Area Working Group.

Digital Literacy and Inclusion 

CDT has been working in close collaboration with several state and regional leaders to leverage existing efforts in the digital literacy space as CDT advances its objectives and goals. Collaborative entities include the CSL, CDA, CETF, San Diego Futures Foundation, Community Tech Network, AARP, and Older Adults Technology Services (OATS), which have provided grants, digital literacy training, and other digital inclusion services. Initiatives include the California Library Connect, digital navigator services, career pathway services, and home connectivity kits. The City of Chula Vista’s Digital Equity and Inclusion Plan highlights its successful device access programs with many of these partners, including the San Diego Futures Foundation, Cox’s Connect2Compete program, Adaptive Computer Empowerment Services, and Computers 2 Kids San Diego.[5]

As CDT and its partners collaborate to increase the number of digital literacy classes taught, expand the variety of languages offered for digital literacy training programs, and increase the number of digital literacy instructors trained, Californians will gain the necessary skills to fully engage in modern life via greater educational and employment opportunity.  

Workforce and Economic Development 

Digital equity is foundational to equitable workforce and economic development. The strategies identified in this Plan will support LWDA’s goals and programs by enabling easier access to benefits and pathways to good jobs, and CDT intends to continue its engagement with workforce and labor organizations through the Statewide Digital Equity Implementation Group and Workforce and Economic Development Outcome Area Working (see Section 5.6) and other means of partnership.[5] Providing tech training and encouraging the hiring of local, skilled labor, especially members of covered populations, to support the broadband infrastructure build-out will have a positive impact across the state. This work will be strengthened by partnering with Local Workforce Development Boards who may be eligible for and supported by digital equity capacity grants and competitive grants. This plan encourages the development of local public-private partnership to fund these efforts.

Continuing to collaborate with labor and industry groups, such as the CWA which has apprenticeship programs, and the Fiber Broadband Association, Fiber Optic Association, and the Wireless Internet Association (WIA), all of which have training programs and are seeking partnerships with local community colleges, will be critical to developing a workforce to support these broadband efforts. 

Essential Services, Accessibility, and Civic Engagement 

Achieving online accessibility and inclusivity of public resources and services will be crucial to improving outcomes in essential services. An increase in the number of state and local entities and CBOs promoting ACP and low-cost offers will improve the affordability of broadband service for underserved populations. As government websites, services, and forms align with greater frequency to universal UX and accessibility standards, government services will become more widely accessible to individuals with accessibility impairments. CDT, ODI, and GovOps are working in concert with to achieve this end. The State continues to evolve web standards to strengthen the security, usability, and accessibility of all State of California websites.  

CDT continues to explore the development of the Digital Identification and eligibility verifier will provide users with a one-stop shop for state benefit programs, allowing users to access a wider array of services more easily. This will reduce in-person tasks and improve cybersecurity risks, which are disproportionately high for covered populations. The increase in public meetings with remote participation will be particularly beneficial for individuals who live in rural areas, disabled populations who are unable to travel, and tribal populations, and will allow for more frequent and substantive civic engagement. The Statewide Implementation Group and the Essential Services, Accessibility, and Civic Engagement Outcome Area Working Group will support this work. 

Tribal Collaboration 

Throughout the planning process, the State consulted and partnered with several California Native American tribes and tribal entities. By continuing these partnerships through the implementation process, including working with Tribal cultural monitors, the Statewide Implementation Group, and the Tribal Collaboration Outcome Area Working Group, the State will ensure that broadband deployment, digital training, affordability efforts, and state and federal funding programs are prioritized for tribal entities.

5.5 Funding and Sustainability

Delivering the key activities defined in this Plan will require a range of funding sources, only some of which are under State control. Capacity Grant funding will be insufficient to accomplish the objectives and meet the targets outlined in this Plan. The State has already allocated significant resources to achieving its objectives and delivering the key activities that will lessen or close remaining gaps. These existing programs (see Section 3.2), complemented by numerous existing locally, philanthropically, and privately funded programs, are central to closing digital equity gaps in the state but will be insufficient.

As CDT oversees implementation, it will encourage entities to leverage the following funding sources to expand impact and catalyze additional opportunities for sustainable resourcing once one-time funding from the federal government is exhausted: 

  • Existing State Efforts: CPUC’s CASF grant, CSL Connected California, and the Department of Aging’s Access to Technology program are only a few examples of existing State efforts that this Plan will seek to capitalize on. State funding has been the primary funding vehicle for progress towards the Broadband for All vision and will continue to be, even with meaningful new sources of federal investment.  
  • Low-cost offers, Affordable Connectivity Program, Other subsidies, and Potential Successor Programs: The State will continue to promote low-cost offers and subsidies, such as the ACP, and ensure that eligible households are able to apply. 
  • Digital Equity Capacity Grant: The State Digital Equity Capacity Grant will be a primary funding vehicle for the implementation of many of the key activities. Most funds will be allocated to regional and local entities to increase capacity, with a portion retained by the State to expand state agency-led digital inclusion efforts, including the development of statewide digital equity tools and platforms managed on the Broadband for All portal, and provide oversight and alignment of efforts. 
  • Digital Equity Competitive Grants: The State will work to support local organizations in applying for NTIA’s forthcoming Digital Equity Competitive Grants by providing resources that may make local partners more competitive for this funding opportunity. 
  • Local Funding: Local governments, educational institutions, community-based organizations, nonprofits, and others are champions of digital equity in communities throughout the state and provide essential complementary funding to help realize Broadband for All and the objectives included in this Plan. The State will continue to support those locally funded efforts through the implementation of this Plan. 
  • Philanthropy: Many statewide philanthropic partners, such as the Michelson Foundation and the California Community Foundation, are actively engaged in the work of digital equity and digital inclusion. The State will continue to seek their leadership and partnership throughout the implementation phase of this Plan, including by helping to stretch philanthropic programs with complementary grants and resources. 
  • Private Sector Investment: Supporting the development of public/private partnerships or private sector investment in broadband infrastructure, broadband job training, digital skills training, device access, and digital navigation.  
  • Priority Area Funding Sources: By integrating digital equity into programs that support priority outcomes areas, such as Workforce Investment Act funding, the State can maximize the impact of these additional funding sources.  

Throughout the implementation of this Plan, the State will also place a heavy emphasis on those programs that do not need to rely solely on State or federal funding for long-term success. Those entities that demonstrate pathways to programmatic sustainability through complementary funding sources may receive additional focus through the distribution of additional State funds. 

5.6 Approach to Outreach and Collaboration

Implementing this Digital Equity Plan will require close collaboration across State government, with local governments and community anchor institutions, including those in education, healthcare, workforce and economic development, libraries, public housing, Tribes, nonprofit organizations, philanthropy, internet service providers, and organizations that represent and serve each of the covered populations and other digitally disadvantaged communities.

In collaboration with CPUC, CDT will continue to act as the convening entity. CDT plans to leverage structures established as part of the planning process during the implementation phase of the Plan. As the State transitions into the implementation phase, targeted collaboration will continue, especially with groups representing covered populations. Comparable to the outreach and engagement program that informed the development of this Digital Equity Plan, implementation will include a multi-pronged approach to collaboration. This outreach and collaboration to entities and individuals across the state will impact all Californians, especially those who identify as or serve covered populations.  

  • Provide regular quarterly progress updates to the California Broadband Council (see Appendix B) on Broadband for All program and initiatives. The 12-member California Broadband Council meets quarterly to promote broadband deployment in unserved and underserved areas, and broadband adoption throughout the state. A complete list of CBC members can be found in Appendix D. 
  • Provide regular progress updates to the Middle-Mile Advisory Committee (Appendix C) on broadband infrastructure initiatives. Similar to the CBC, the MMAC meet quarterly but its role is to monitor and advise on the development and construction of the state’s open-access, middle-mile network.
  • Expand the statewide Get Connected! California Mobilization cohort to include more regional and local organizations. The current cohort consists of CDT, CPUC, CETF, CDE, CSL, and regional partners, and the ongoing collaboration would seek to expand this cohort to include additional state agencies, internet service providers, regional and local governments and departments, broadband consortia, and community-based organizations. This work is aimed at coordinating efforts to raise awareness of low-cost service offers, ACP, other subsidies like state and federal LifeLine, and potential successor program through direction notifications and assists eligible individuals to enroll in the programs through onsite enrollment events.
  • Transition the Statewide Digital Equity Planning Group (page 113, Appendix L) to the Statewide Digital Equity Implementation Group or State Table in partnership with CPUC and the NTIA. This Statewide Digital Equity Implementation Group will meet quarterly to provide subject matter expertise to CDT and CPUC during the digital equity implementation process. Partnering with these groups will ensure the implementation strategy outlined in this Plan will positively impact the entire State. 
  • Continue to convene the six Outcome Area Working Groups (page 114, Appendix M & N) quarterly to support continued learning, information sharing, collaboration, and coordination of digital equity efforts. These OAWGs were focused on Education; Health; Digital Literacy and Inclusion; Workforce and Economic Development; Essential Services, Accessibility, and Civic Engagement; and Tribal Collaboration, and convened subject matter experts and practitioners to develop strategies that align with State policy priorities through the lens of the digital equity barriers experienced by covered populations. OAWGs leverage knowledge specific to vulnerable and covered populations to advise on issues of noted importance to the State of California and related to digital equity, such as emerging technologies and generative AI.  
  • Establish a Community Advisory Committee consisting of members of covered populations that meets quarterly throughout the implementation phase. 
  • Engage with the community through webinars and public meetings, developed in partnership with CPUC and other state entities, to leverage State and federal broadband grant programs and future funding opportunities and foster collaboration on broadband adoption efforts, strongly emphasizing engagement with covered populations.  
  • Proactively engage with California Native American tribes through group informational meetings or consultations consistent with tribal consultation policies.
  • Continue engagement with all stakeholders through individual meetings and consultations, monthly email updates, and the Broadband for All Portal.
  • Revise and administer the state digital equity public survey on an annual basis to track progress against the SDEP goals and objectives.  
  • Leverage DEEM tools to continue developing the State’s asset inventory and making information available to residents, stakeholder, and grantees on the Broadband for All portal.
  • Continue to work with culturally specific media outlets to reach communities in-language and in-culture.

The joint State Digital Equity and BEAD planning process helped CDT, CPUC, and the State expand the multi-level network of digital inclusion stakeholders established as directed in the state Broadband for All Action Plan. The State invites all these organizations, that participated in the planning process, such as state agencies, local and tribal jurisdictions, education entities and libraries, broadband consortia, workforce agencies, labor organizations, community-based organizations, internet service providers and philanthropic entities to remain engaged to help shape the key activities through implementation. 

5.7 Approach to Plan Evaluation and Updates

CDT will provide annual progress reports on the implementation of this Plan. Similar to the annual review and updates made to the Broadband for All Action Plan, CDT will work with State agencies, CBOs, nonprofits, philanthropy, and others to monitor that each key activity is advancing, and that progress is being made on all objectives. The annual review and updates will be available online and presented to the California Broadband Council.  

In addition to annual progress reports, CDT will also plan a full update to this Digital Equity Plan every five years, recognizing that larger strategic updates may need to be made to account for changing funding environments and progress against different objectives for each covered population. 

5.8 Implementation Timeline

In many respects, the implementation of this Digital Equity Plan is well underway and being addressed in whole, or part, by the state’s existing Broadband for All investments and efforts. Additional implementation will be tied to the timeline for receipt of federal Digital Equity Capacity funds from the NTIA. Given the timing of those funds, 2024 will primarily focus on the detailed design of the key activities defined in this plan and securing the funding sources necessary for their implementation.

The timeline below is contingent on the amount of Digital Equity Capacity Grant funds that the State receives, and the rules, requirements and restrictions placed on those dollars. While both are not yet known, the state may modify this plan once they are made clear upon the NTIA’s release of the Digital Equity Capacity Grant Notice of Funding Opportunity later this year. A chart connecting the measurable objectives and key activities can also be found on pages 143-144.  

Implementation Milestones 2024 2025 2026 2027 2028
Key Activity #1 (pgs. 136-137): Continue coordination with CPUC on MMBI and last-mile infrastructure buildout (MO: 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 1.4, 2.1, 2.2) Q1-Q4 Q1-Q4 Q1-Q4 Q1-Q4 Q1-Q4
Key Activity #2 (pg. 137): Transition the Statewide Digital Equity Planning Group to the Statewide Digital Equity Implementation Group (MO: 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 1.4, 2.1, 2.2, 2.3, 2.4, 3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 3.4, 3.5, 3.6) Q4
Key Activity #2 (pg. 137): Quarterly convening of the Statewide Digital Equity Implementation Group (MO: 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 1.4, 2.1, 2.2, 2.3, 2.4, 3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 3.4, 3.5, 3.6) Q1-Q4 Q1-Q4 Q1-Q4 Q1-Q4
Key Activity #2 (pg. 137): Quarterly convening of the Outcome Area Working Groups (MO: 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 1.4, 2.1, 2.2, 2.3, 2.4, 3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 3.4, 3.5, 3.6) Q4 Q1-Q4 Q1-Q4 Q1-Q4 Q1-Q4
Key Activity #2 (pg. 137): Establish the Citizens Advisory Committee (MO: 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 1.4, 2.1, 2.2, 2.3, 2.4, 3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 3.4, 3.5, 3.6) Q4
Key Activity #2 (pg. 137): Quarterly convening of the Citizens Advisory Committee (MO: 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 1.4, 2.1, 2.2, 2.3, 2.4, 3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 3.4, 3.5, 3.6) Q1-Q4 Q1-Q4 Q1-Q4 Q1-Q4
Key Activity #2 (pg. 137): Quarterly convening of the California Broadband Council (MO: 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 1.4, 2.1, 2.2, 2.3, 2.4, 3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 3.4, 3.5, 3.6) Q1-Q4 Q1-Q4 Q1-Q4 Q1-Q4 Q1-Q4
Key Activity #3 (pg. 138): Administer digital equity public survey (MO: 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 1.4, 2.1, 2.2, 2.3, 2.4, 3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 3.4, 3.6) Q1-Q4 Q1-Q4 Q1-Q4 Q1-Q4
Key Activity #4 (pgs. 138-140): Engage stakeholders in the development of the CA Connect Corps digital equity capacity grant programs (MO: 2.1, 2.2, 2.3, 2.4, 3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 3.4, 3.5, 3.6) Q3-Q4
Key Activity #4 (pgs. 138-140): Develop the CA Connect Corps digital equity grant programs (MO: 2.1, 2.2, 2.3, 2.4, 3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 3.4, 3.5, 3.6) Q1
Key Activity #4 (pgs. 138-140):Ongoing support of the CA Connect Corps digital equity capacity grant recipients (MO: 2.1, 2.2, 2.3, 2.4, 3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 3.4, 3.5, 3.6) Q1-Q4 Q1-Q4 Q1-Q4 Q1-Q4
Key Activity #5 (pg. 140): Partner with state agencies that deliver digital inclusion to strengthen and expand their impact (MO: 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 1.4, 2.1, 2.2, 2.3, 2.4, 3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 3.4, 3.6) Q4
Key Activity #5 (pg. 140): Continuation of partnerships with state agencies delivering digital inclusion services (MO: 1.1, 1.3, 1.4, 2.1, 2.2, 2.3, 2.4, 3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 3.4, 3.5, 3.6) Q1-Q4 Q1-Q4 Q1-Q4 Q1-Q4
Key Activity #6 (pgs. 140-141): Continue building the statewide asset inventory (MO: 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 1.4, 2.2, 2.3, 3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 3.4, 3.6) Q1-Q4 Q1-Q4 Q1-Q4 Q1-Q4 Q1-Q4
Key Activity #6 (pgs. 140-141): Fund a statewide digital literacy platform(s) to promote digital inclusion best-practices (MO: 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 1.4, 2.2, 2.3, 3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 3.4, 3.6) Q4 Q1
Key Activity #6 (pgs. 140-141): Fund and implement a statewide digital literacy platform to promote digital inclusion best-practices (MO: 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 1.4, 2.2, 2.3, 3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 3.4, 3.6) Q2-Q4
Key Activity #6 (pgs. 140-141): Maintain and support the statewide digital inclusion best-practices (MO: 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 1.4, 2.2, 2.3, 3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 3.4, 3.6) Q4 Q1-Q4 Q1-Q4 Q1-Q4 Q1-Q4
Key Activity #7 (pgs. 143-143): Continue promotion of the low-cost service offers, the Affordable Connectivity Program or a successor program, in partnership with the Get Connected! California Mobilization effort, to obtain subsidies and increase enrollment in low-cost internet plans (MO: 1.1, 1.4, 2.1, 2.2, 2.3, 2.4, 3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 3.4, 3.6) Q1-Q4 Q1-Q4 Q1-Q4 Q1-Q4 Q1-Q4
Key Activity #7 (pgs. 142-143): Formalize partnership with other state agencies that offer programs to ACP-eligible households to streamline application efforts (MO: 1.1, 1.4, 2.1, 2.2, 2.3, 2.4, 3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 3.4, 3.6) Q2-Q4


Please be advised that the footnotes in the HTML version of the California Digital Equity Plan may differ from those found in the PDF version. This discrepancy is due to format-specific adjustments necessary for the HTML version.

[1] https://trackbill.com/s3/bills/CA/2021/AB/2750/analyses/senate-energy-utilities-and-communications.pdf.
[2] https://aging.ca.gov/Information_and_Resources/Access_to_Technology/, accessed October 31, 2023.
[3] https://www.fcc.gov/health/SDOH
[4] https://www.itup.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/05/ITUP-Broadband-Bootcamp-Report-Final.pdf

[5] City of Chula Vista Digital Equity and Inclusion Plan,
https://www.chulavistaca.gov/home/showpublisheddocument/21352/637341468003770000, page 49.
[6] LWDA | Labor & Workforce Development Agency (labor.ca.gov), Accessed October 9, 2023