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State Digital Equity Planning Grant


BroadbandOhio is working to ensure every Ohioan has access to high-speed internet. Achieving this digital equity will empower people all across the state to fully engage in their communities, seek and often maintain employment, better connect with loved ones, learn, and access essential services.

While broadband expansion projects have already increased connectivity across Ohio –  improving access to high-speed internet – affordability, access to connected devices and digital literacy gaps have created disparities among communities’ use of this vital service.

“High-speed internet is no longer a luxury – it’s a critical necessity for everything from school to work to healthcare. We must end the digital divide in our state, and by giving our rural and unserved areas access to affordable and reliable high-speed internet, we will enhance economic growth in these communities and bring about new opportunities for residents.”

— Governor Mike DeWine

State Digital Equity Planning Grant Program 

Ohio is participating in the State Digital Equity Planning Grant Program, a federally funded grant, to develop a statewide plan for achieving digital equity goals and closing the digital divide. Ohio’s Digital Equity Plan will serve all Ohioans with an aim to promote meaningful adoption and use of high-speed internet service, with a special emphasis on:

  • Low-income households
  • Aging populations
  • Incarcerated individuals
  • Veterans
  • People with disabilities
  • People with language barriers
  • Racial and ethnic minorities
  • Rural inhabitants

As part of this planning process, BroadbandOhio will establish Regional Digital Inclusion Alliances (RDIAs) across five regions of the state (Northwest, Northeast, Central, Southeast, Southwest) to champion digital equity and inclusion at local and regional levels.

Regional Digital Inclusion Alliances

Regional Digital Inclusion Alliances will serve as collaborative partners to BroadbandOhio, bringing together diverse stakeholders to coordinate regional planning efforts, support digital inclusion activities, and collect local feedback to better inform Ohio’s Digital Equity Plan. In turn, BroadbandOhio will amplify local and regional digital inclusion successes and ensure Ohio’s plan best meets the needs of all Ohioans.

Stakeholders can participate at varying levels in their Regional Digital Inclusion Alliance by:

  • Participating in their RDIA activities. Participants will attend state and regional planning meetings to provide feedback.
  • Join a regional steering committee. Help lead outreach and engagement efforts and coordinate regional digital inclusion activities.
  • Lead their RDIA. Regional leads will work directly with BroadbandOhio to share regional input and support drafting Ohio’s Digital Equity Plan.

If you or your organization are interested in participating in your Regional Digital Inclusion Alliance, please complete the survey linked below.

Take the Survey

Ohio's Regions

State of Ohio divided into 5 regions

State Digital Equity Planning Grant Tentative Timeline



October-November 2022

Survey live on BroadbandOhio Webpage; outreach to stakeholders

November-December 2022

Review surveys; determine regional leads

February 2023

Statewide kick-off event

February-April 2023

Regional planning sessions

April 2023

Regional plan presentations

April-May 2023

Funding released for pilot projects

August 2023

Regional plan consolidation into final State Digital Equity Plan

September 2023

Submit State Digital Equity Plan

Identifying Partners

Numerous organizations are working to support digital equity goals across the state. While BroadbandOhio is familiar with the work of many, there are likely others whose efforts fly under the radar. The stakeholder engagement survey offers the opportunity for all local, regional, and statewide entities to participate in the state digital equity planning process. This process also allows for a fair assessment of any entities wishing to be regional leads.

While the survey is live, BroadbandOhio will ramp up stakeholder outreach to ensure as many entities as possible access and complete the survey. Staff will attend existing meetings across the state to share information and ask that groups share the survey widely within their networks for maximum reach.

Kick-Off Event

In February 2023, BroadbandOhio will host a statewide event to kickstart the state digital equity planning process for stakeholders. The event will invite local, state, and national experts in digital equity and inclusion to share their experiences and stories. BroadbandOhio will introduce regional leads for each RDIA and share expectations for outreach and planning moving forward.

Regional Stakeholder Outreach & Planning

Leads for each RDIA will host regional meetings with the support of BroadbandOhio, bringing together local and regional digital equity and inclusion champions to support the buildout of regional digital equity plans over a three-month period in early 2023. In April 2023, regional plans will be presented to the state for review and consolidation into Ohio’s Digital Equity Plan.