Economic DevelopmentWebinarPublication Date: Nov 15, 2022

The MMA today held a webinar providing an overview of the federal broadband funding landscape and the steps municipalities can take to prepare for this once-in-a-generation opportunity to close the digital divide and expand broadband access.

Heath Fahle, assistant secretary for federal funds in the Executive Office for Administration and Finance, kicked off the session with an overview of the federal funding opportunities in four major infrastructure areas: transportation, climate and power, water and sewer, and broadband.

Community Development Undersecretary Ashley Stolba from the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development, reviewed the administration’s key broadband strategy pillars, emphasizing the importance of extending access and increasing adoption and accessibility rates across the state.

Michael Baldino, director and general counsel at the Massachusetts Broadband Institute, discussed broadband mapping and explored the state’s $50 million digital equity fund, while outlining the determining factors of digital access. Josh Eichen, the program manager of partnerships, highlighted how cities and towns can leverage the MBI’s Municipal Digital Equity Planning Program to identify community needs and actions that will ensure that residents have access to reliable and affordable broadband service.

The MBI is accepting applications for its Municipal Diversity Equity Planning Program. Eichen said the ability to engage in digital equity planning activities is critical for municipalities to develop actionable solutions to bridge the digital divide. The Municipal Digital Equity Planning Program will support appointed and elected officials with decision making and investments related to broadband infrastructure, as well as prepare leaders to submit grant proposals.

Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act Overview – Mass. A&F, Federal Funds Office presentation (1M PDF)
IIJA/BIL Series: Broadband and Digital Equity Investments – Mass. Broadband Institute presentation (2M PDF)