The Community Broadband Action Network (CBAN) has been awarded a grant in the amount of $380,591 through the National Digital Inclusion Alliance (NDIA) to provide digital equity education and resources to communities in rural Iowa.
The grant is part of a $10 million investment from Google.org to establish a national Digital Navigator Corps. It supports the hiring and establishment of 18 community-based digital navigators across the country for three years, through August 2025. CBAN was chosen from dozens of applicants nationwide.
“The NDIA and Google understand that areas with lower population density are the most vulnerable to being left on the wrong side of the digital divide,” said Jon Anne Willow, CBAN co-founder and President. “This program is a great start in terms of closing that gap.”
NDIA sub-grantees, including CBAN, will receive programmatic and technical support to further develop NDIA’s digital navigator model for rural and Tribal communities. The program will help thousands of Iowa residents to gain much-needed access to the internet, devices, and digital skills training.
“The grantors have been very helpful,” said Todd Kielkopf, CBAN co-founder and Treasurer. “The NDIA is providing great programmatic support while still allowing us to work the way that’s best for our local communities.” Kielkopf will serve as Program Manager for Iowa’s Digital Navigator program.
Digital navigators are trusted guides who assist community members in internet adoption and the use of computing devices. Iowa’s digital navigator will provide one-on-one assistance with affordable internet access, device acquisition, technical skills, and application support, including for the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) broadband service subsidy.
“There are so many ways we’ll be able to help people, and having the program funded for three years shows Google and NDIA’s commitment to its success,” said Curtis Dean, CBAN co-founder and Vice President. “We are equally committed as CBAN expands its ability to educate, support, and serve communities across our nationwide member base."
CBAN is working to finalize the communities where the program will be enacted and hire a Digital Navigator. It is expected that Digital Navigator services will begin being offered in the target communities in January 2023.
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Presented by the Community Broadband Action Network and curated by Curtis Dean.