Arkansas State Broadband Office receives fed approval for digital plan

The Arkansas State Broadband Office has received approval for its Digital Skills and Opportunity Plan from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA).

In 2022, the NTIA awarded the State Broadband Office $843,673 to develop its Digital Skills and Opportunity Plan. This funding was awarded as part of the Digital Equity Planning Grant Program – one of three broadband grant programs created in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021.

“Expanding broadband infrastructure in Arkansas is critical to ensuring the success of our residents in the new digital economy,” said Glen Howie, director of the Arkansas State Broadband Office.

“Infrastructure is only one piece of the larger broadband issue. Arkansans need access to digital devices and the digital skills to operate those devices properly to self-determine their success. This Digital Skills and Opportunity Plan lays the foundation for providing these skills in the Natural State,” he added.

The Arkansas Digital Skills and Opportunity Plan outlines the state’s vision for empowering Arkansans with the skills, technology, and capacity needed to self-determine success in the 21st-century digital economy.

The Arkansas Digital Skills and Opportunity Plan was created to complement and build upon the State Broadband Office’s BEAD Five-Year Action Plan and Initial Proposals, which are focused on building out the state’s broadband infrastructure.

The Arkansas State Broadband Office developed the plan by leveraging partnerships in the public, private and nonprofit sectors, in addition to conducting 32 in-person focus groups, holding roundtable discussions in all 75 Arkansas counties, and organizing a digital opportunity survey that gathered more than 12,000 responses across the state.

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