NTIA Launches Minority Broadband Initiative – for Southern US

Big news from the NTIA on their Minority Broadband Initiative…

Today, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) launched a new Minority Broadband Initiative (MBI) focused on solving broadband deployment challenges in vulnerable communities. NTIA announced the initiative at the 2019 Carolinas Alliance for Success in Education (CASE) Summit held at Johnson C. Smith University. The program seeks to ensure that Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) can successfully advance broadband connectivity on their campuses and in their surrounding communities, enabling the participation of all Americans in the digital economy.

To prepare students and surrounding communities to lead in the digital age, this year’s CASE Summit highlights the importance of HBCUs as force multipliers for economic growth and rural prosperity. The summit is committed to building strategies to compete successfully for federal and public-private resources to fulfill HBCUs’ historical mission. …

Broadly, the MBI seeks to achieve the following strategic policy objectives:

  1. Convening a forum where stakeholders can explore options for leveraging HBCU broadband infrastructure to connect neighboring communities of vulnerable populations; and

  2. Using broadband infrastructure investment as a catalyst for adoption that will result in job growth and economic development and deployment of advanced mobile technologies primarily in the economically distressed communities of the rural South.

NTIA’s work on the Minority Broadband Initiative complements the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities, which supports the nation’s priorities of fully deploying 5G and improving the prosperity of economically distressed and unconnected rural communities. The CASE Summit and Smart HBCU planning teams will facilitate conversations among North Carolina and South Carolina HBCUs, local community leaders, and state stakeholders to ensure affordable broadband in their communities, especially rural areas.

I read it with great interest as I know we could use a push in reducing the achievement gap in Minnesota and broadband would be a great tool. But after reading the report mentioned above that the intention isn’t to impact Minnesota. The report is more focused on the MBI’s strategy policy objective…

Using broadband infrastructure investment as a catalyst for adoption that will result in job growth and economic development and deployment of advanced mobile technologies primarily in the economically distressed communities of the rural South.

It feels like maybe we could call this a Minority Broadband Initiative for the South, which is great but that might indicate that one was in the works for the Midwest and North as well.

This entry was posted in Digital Divide, education by Ann Treacy. Bookmark the permalink.

About Ann Treacy

I have a Master’s Degree in Library and Information Science. I have been interested or involved in providing access to information through the Internet since 1994, when I worked for Minnesota’s first Internet service provider. I am pleased to be a part of the Blandin on Broadband Team. I also work with MN Coalition on Government Information, Minnesota Rural Partners, and the American Society for Information Science and Technology.

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