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Digital Equity

Bridging the Digital Divide

High-speed internet is a necessity in today's world. United Way supports and leads efforts to improve digital access throughout Greater Cincinnati.

Southwest Ohio Regional Digital Inclusion Alliance

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law provides $65 billion in funding to connect everyone in America to affordable, reliable high-speed internet. These funds add to and support existing programs that expand Internet access and use, and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the Department of the Treasury and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) are leading efforts at the federal level.

In February 2023, Broadband Ohio established five Regional Digital Inclusion Alliances (RDIAs) to champion digital equity and inclusion. Each RDIA is led by a backbone organization that centers its work around the needs of covered populations which often experience the greatest barriers to digital inclusion.

Click below to join the Connecting Southwest Ohio RDIA communications list.

Digital Inclusion Plan

To address issues beyond connectivity, during 2023 stakeholders from across Southwest Ohio convened with a common goal: building digital equity and opportunity in our communities. This plan is the result of that work.

Ohio Regional Digital Inclusion Alliances

  Northwest — Toledo Lucas County Public Library
  Northeast — Cleveland Foundation
  Central — Smart Columbus
  Southeast — Buckeye Hills Regional Council
  Southwest — United Way of Greater Cincinnati


Hamilton County Public Wi-Fi Grant Program

United Way of Greater Cincinnati is administering a grant program for Hamilton County to enable local governments and community organizations to provide FREE public Wi-Fi in underserved areas of the county. Broadband infrastructure has been shown to be critical for work, education, health care and civic participation. A total of $1,425,000 is available through the county’s American Rescue Plan/State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds.

For questions about this funding, please contact impact@uwgc.org.

Informational Webinar

A webinar providing an overview of the program, including eligibility requirements, was held Thursday, Jan. 25.

For questions about this funding, email impact@uwgc.org or refer to the sections below.

Wi-Fi Grant Process & Key Dates

Dates may change. Any changes will be communicated in a timely manner.

  • May 2024: Round 2 funding awards announced  
  • July 2025: Grant period ends
Additional Resources

UWGC Complementary Digital Equity Program

To complement Hamilton County’s investment in public broadband infrastructure, United Way of Greater Cincinnati invited organizations in our service area to apply for funding through the Digital Equity Grant Program. The organizations selected aim to bridge the digital divide and foster inclusivity and accessibility. These innovative digital inclusion solutions empower diverse populations to navigate the digital landscape with confidence and competence.

Informational Webinar

A webinar providing an overview of the program, including eligibility requirements, was held Wednesday, Feb. 7.

Northern Kentucky Digital Equity Initiative

Because of work slowdowns, furloughs, and job losses during the COVID-19 pandemic, many families were unable to afford internet service. United Way of Greater Cincinnati partnered with altafiber (formerly Cincinnati Bell) and others to establish the NKY Digital Equity Initiative to help families with high-speed internet for one year.

United Way of Greater Cincinnati’s NKY Digital Equity Initiative for Students provided more than 3,700 students with access to technology and opportunities to participate in virtual learning during the COVID-19 pandemic. Since the program’s launch before the 2020-21 school year, 16 Northern Kentucky school districts have benefited and 1,670+ homes have been connected.

These efforts resulted in UWGC’s Northern Kentucky Area Center being awarded the 2021 Business Engagement of the Year Award during the annual Excellence in Education Celebration presented by the Northern Kentucky Education Council and the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce.

The Business Engagement of the Year Award recognizes a local organization or business that works with Northern Kentucky schools to improve student achievement through activities such as mentoring, internships, job shadowing, STEM activities, literacy coaching, Junior Achievement, First Lego League, and service-learning.

NKY Digital Equity IMPACT


Student given access to technology for virtual learning.


Number of Northern Kentucky school districts assisted.


Homes have been connected during the 2020-21 school year.

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