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FCC estimate of people lacking broadband could be off by half

New research published on Wednesday projects that twice as many people lack access to rural broadband than the federal government thinks, coming just days after the Federal Communications Commission finalized an order to distribute a new $20.4 billion rural broadband fund. The research, from BroadbandNow, estimated that 42 million U.S. residents lack access to broadband internet, almost double the FCC’s estimate of 21.3 million people that was stated in the commission’s 2019 Broadband Deployment Report. The discrepancy is largely a result of the FCC’s census-block methodology, which counts an entire census block as “covered” if just one address in the area has access to broadband. While the FCC has since admitted that method is flawed, BroadbandNow checked more than 11,000 randomly selected addresses on the FCC's map, finding that the digital divide may run much deeper than the federal government's own projections. Ryan Johnston reports.

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Colorado gets an IT strategy officer

The Colorado Governor’s Office of Information Technology announced on Wednesday it’s hired Julia Richman, a former Deloitte consultant and Boulder, Colorado, innovation chief, as its new chief strategy officer. Described by the agency as a role that bridges strategy, product management, business architecture and communications, Richman’s job is “ensuring that technology initiatives are strategically aligned with customer demands. “OIT is about 10 years old now and there’s this confluence of pace of change, needs changing and the organization moving into the next level of maturity," Richman said in a brief interview. Colin Wood has more.

Nominations now open for 2020 StateScoop 50 Awards

The annual StateScoop 50 Awards recognize the people and projects who are redefining state government with technology, and nominations are open now through Feb. 28. Submit who you think is doing the best and most inspiring work in tech policy, cybersecurity, innovation and IT leadership. Voting begins next month, and winners will be announced in May at StateScoop's reception during NASCIO's midyear conference. Submit your nominations.

After Iowa Dems' caucus app mess, election officials distance themselves

The counting in Iowa's Democratic caucuses is finally — maybe? — nearly over, but the discussion about the app that the Iowa Democratic Party wanted its precincts to use to report results is still burning. But one thing that real election officials, who work for city, county and state governments have said in near-unison is that this app mishap should not be misconstrued with the work that they do in overseeing actual elections, and trying to maintain public confidence in the voting process. "Bad actors are trying sow distrust in our process," said David Bjerke, the elections director in Falls Church, Virginia. "I think there are a lot of people federal, state on down trying to combat it as much as possible.” Benjamin Freed reports.

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