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Ideas to fix the digital divide wanted

The National Science Foundation will fund an initiative to develop five proof-of-concept internet connectivity projects over the next year, informing federal researchers on how to approach the construction of a national broadband strategy. Project OVERCOME, announced Monday by NSF-backed US Ignite, will distribute $2 million on innovative technology projects that could someday be scaled up to serve people without internet access. “Because large-scale efforts to expand broadband access can take years to complete, we’ve designed this project to take advantage of innovative approaches that connect people quickly, and that have the potential to be scaled out to other communities nationwide,” said US Ignite’s Lee Davenport. Ryan Johnston has more.

A Message From AWS Educate

With over 1,500 institutions and hundreds of thousands of students who use AWS Educate, we wanted to take you on a trip around the world and highlight how students are learning and innovating with the cloud. Learn more.

VITA improves, could improve more

Virginia’s Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission on Monday gave the state’s IT agency a much more favorable review than one it issued last year, following the Virginia Information Technologies Agency’s completion in April of its transition to a multi-vendor service model. In its report, the commission wrote that VITA has significantly improved its contract management capabilities, after being warned last year that it wasn’t watching its vendors closely enough. But auditors also recommended the agency focus more on its customers, citing recent surveys showing that 60% of agencies were not satisfied with VITA's offerings. Colin Wood reports.

Election officials won't 'sacrifice accuracy'

The high volume of absentee ballots being cast in next month’s presidential election is expected to require election administrators to need more time than usual to count votes, but state and local officials nationwide have procedures in place to ensure that votes are counted securely and accurately. But they won't "sacrifice accuracy or integrity for speed" Elizabeth Howard, a Brennan Center senior counsel and former deputy elections commissioner in Virginia, said during a webinar hosted by the Brennan Center on Monday. Benjamin Freed has the full story.

State CIOs talk cloud efforts on 'Priorities'

On the latest episode of StateScoop's Priorities podcast, Arkansas Chief Technology Officer Yessica Jones and Nevada Chief Information Officer Alan Cunningham join to discuss the status of their states' cloud services upgrades. In both states, the pandemic has accelerated upgrade efforts. But both Jones and Cunningham cited challenges that are forcing them to be deliberate and diligent in how they approach their work with cloud. “ Some people don’t want to change,” Cunningham said, “but Covid has really helped push that forward at a much faster rate because people were not allowed in the offices for the longest time so our implementation of Office 365, especially of Teams, helped our staff still communicate and keep government running, because it never stops.” Check out the latest episode of StateScoop's Priorities podcast.

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