On October 1, 2023, the Digital Equity Office was transferred from the South Carolina Department of Administration to the South Carolina Office of Regulatory Staff (ORS) and re-named the Digital Opportunity Department (DOD). The DOD focuses on opportunities to educate South Carolinians on how broadband access and adoption can enhance the state’s workforce and individuals' lives.
Additionally, the ORS houses the South Carolina Broadband Office, whose mission is to serve as the central broadband planning body to coordinate with federal, state, regional, local, and private entities, to the extent practicable, to engage in the continued deployment of broadband in the state. Once a community has broadband access, its citizens may need assistance and education regarding how best to utilize the internet and devices, and this area is where the DOD, in coordination with partners and stakeholders throughout the state, will play a vital role.
Based upon guidance by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), the DOD will focus on assisting several target populations including, but not limited to:
- Low-income individuals
- Aging individuals
- Racial/ethnic minorities
- Rural residents
- Individuals with disabilities
- Individuals with a language barrier
- Incarcerated individuals
Once established at the ORS, DOD’s priority was to review, analyze, and edit the Digital Equity (DE) Plan draft document that originated under the DOA and is due to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) by February 13, 2024. In accordance with the Infrastructure Act and the Notice of Funding Opportunity, states are required to post their DE Plans online to gather public comment and revise the DE Plan as necessary before submitting it to the NTIA.
Digital Equity (DE) Plan as Submitted to NTIA on February 12, 2024 (PDF)
Digital Equity (DE) Plan as Posted for Public Comment on December 12, 2023 (PDF)