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Digital inclusion: Community initiatives

Across the region we serve, communities of all sizes are working on digital inclusion projects to help residents gain access to broadband. Their goal is to close the digital divide—the economic and social gap between those who have reliable access to the internet and those who do not.

Two Dallas Fed programs support local efforts in urban and rural areas. We provide guidance to help communities move their projects from planning to completion.

Broadband Buildout Initiative: Apply by August 5

Smaller cities and rural communities get assistance to review infrastructure plans, partner with internet service providers (ISPs) and find sources of funding. Open by application.

This program supports communities that have existing plans for a broadband infrastructure project. They may face limitations on technical expertise or challenges with financing. Participants will receive technical assistance and guidance to help fund and execute their projects successfully.

Who can apply

Applicants must be working on broadband infrastructure projects in small or mid-size communities or rural areas. They must meet the following criteria:

  • Location: Eleventh Federal Reserve District (Texas, southern New Mexico and northern Louisiana)
  • Organization: Established community partnership working on digital inclusion
  • Project: Broadband infrastructure project ready for implementation that will serve a smaller-size community (less than 100,000 households)
How to apply

Review our application guide for details on the program, application requirements and selection process. Then complete our online form and upload documents.

If you have questions, contact Kassandra Huhn

Information session

To learn more about the program and appliaction process, view the recording of our July 10 open forum.

Key dates
  • July 10, 2024: Information session
  • August 5, 2024: Applications due
  • September 2024: Selection announcement
Financial Innovations Academy for Digital Access

Leaders of urban efforts learn about innovative financing tools to fund digital inclusion projects. Participating metros are Dallas, Houston, San Antonio and Austin.

This program supports digital inclusion efforts in our region’s largest urban centers. These metros have developed digital opportunity plans, but public funding for projects is often insufficient.

In major metros, infrastructure is generally in place. Access to broadband is often linked to affordability.

During the academy, local leaders learn how they can use alternative financing tools to fund community projects that target affordability needs.

Digital inclusion advisory committee

An advisory committee on digital inclusion provides expertise to inform the Dallas Fed’s community initiatives. Members include local and national leaders who represent business, nonprofits, government, internet service providers and philanthropy. They help ensure our programs align with the needs of local communities and are coordinated with related efforts in the region we serve.

Jonathan Childress
Community Engagement Manager
Microsoft
El Paso, Texas

Diego Deleersnyder
Managing Director
Aspen Institute Latinos and Society Program 
Brooklyn, New York

Cindy Fisher
Digital Opportunity Program Supervisor
Texas Broadband Development Office
Austin, Texas

Kelty Garbee
Executive Director
Texas Rural Funders
Austin, Texas

Monica Gonzalez
Digital Equity Supervisor
Methodist Healthcare Ministries 
San Antonio, Texas

Russell Moore
Digital Equity Supervisor, COO and General Manager
Big Bend Telephone
Alpine, Texas

Jennifer Case Nevarez
Director
Community Learning Network
Santa Fe, New Mexico

Revati Prasad
Vice President of Programs
Benton Institute for Broadband & Society
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Closing the digital divide

Broadband access opens doors to education, jobs and economic opportunity. It’s something every community needs to thrive.

In today’s economy, access to high-speed internet service is a driver of economic growth and mobility. Broadband is now recognized as essential infrastructure for communities everywhere. It helps people connect with school, jobs, business opportunities, health care, financial services and more.

But many people in urban and rural areas struggle with inadequate broadband connectivity. This has created what is known as the digital divide—the economic and social gap between those who have reliable access to the internet and those who do not.

Expanding broadband access helps improve educational and workforce outcomes and economic participation. At the Dallas Fed, we conduct research, share expertise and work with community partners to address this critical need.

Learn more about digital inclusion

The Dallas Fed does not fundraise or provide grants to program participants.