Municipal Digital Equity Planning


As digital connectivity becomes increasingly critical for social inclusion and economic success, the Massachusetts Broadband Institute (MBI) has rolled out two transformative initiatives: the Municipal Digital Equity Planning Program and the Municipal Digital Equity Implementation Program. As a consultant for MBI, VHB spearheads digital equity planning activities for municipalities throughout Massachusetts.

VHB employs a multi-faceted approach to creating digital equity plans. Our team follows our Smart Community framework for providing solutions to interrelated issues, engaging with communities to diagnose existing conditions, identify solutions, and provide a roadmap for implementation. This approach includes comprehensive analyses of community-specific data, encompassing census statistics and geospatial information, to pinpoint where internet access and usage fall short—particularly among vulnerable populations. Public workshops, tabling events, surveys, and other interactive engagement methods are used to gather input directly from the community.

The culmination of this groundwork is the development of a strategic framework designed to guide future municipal decisions and identify potential funding opportunities. VHB has successfully rolled out several initiatives: a digital equity charrette for the Town of East Bridgewater, municipal digital equity plans for the Town of Randolph and the City of Easthampton, and a regional digital equity plan for five northern Berkshire County towns.

Upon the completion of these digital equity plans, VHB provides technical assistance to municipalities applying for MBI’s Municipal Digital Equity Implementation Program, which offers a one-time grant of up to $100,000 per municipality to execute specified projects. VHB helps link communities with regional resources, assess project feasibility, consult on local ownership, and frame a budget that aligns with MBI's requirements. Currently, VHB is engaged in digital equity planning for additional communities, including the Town of Westhampton, and the Cities of Methuen and Haverhill, reinforcing VHB's commitment to bridging the digital divide and fostering equitable internet access for all residents of the Commonwealth.

VHB staff engage with members of the Randolph, MA community at an outdoor event.


  • Massachusetts Technology Collaborative


  • Charrette Facilitation

  • Community Planning

  • Data Collection & Analysis

  • Funding Research and Application Support

  • Public Outreach