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Digital Equity Digital Inclusion Event

WNC Digital Inclusion Planning Summit

When: January 13th from 10:00 – 12:00 p.m.

Learn about what’s going on in your county, state, country, and how you can be a part of a more digitally equitable North Carolina.

We will start the planning at this event, so share with all your interested partners in digital equity.

Contact Sara Nichols at sara@landofsky.org for more information.

Digital Inclusion Event Registration

This project is made possible by the generous support of BAND-NC Institute for Emerging Issues.

BAND-NC, Building a New Digital Economy in North Carolina

Also See

Digital Inclusion DANCE
Categories
Broadband access Broadband funding Broadband in WNC Broadband Technology Digital Divide Digital Equity Digital Inclusion Economic Development Education Policy Telehealth YouTube

Broadband, Biden

Broadband Breakfast Live

The election is behind us. What does the future of broadband have in the future with the Biden Administration?

Listen to the discussion on broadband and the FCC policy future:

  • Drew Clark – Telecom Attorney, The CommLaw Group; Editor and Publisher, Broadband Breakfast, Washington DC-Baltimore Area
  • Scott Wallsten – President and Senior Fellow at Technology Policy Institute, Washington, District of Columbia
  • Mark Jamison, Ph.D. – Research & Education Director, Gainesville, Florida
Broadband Breakfast Live Online on Wednesday, November 11: Broadband and the Joe Biden President-Elect Administration
Categories
Buncombe Digital Literacy E-Learning Internet Internet Laptop WiFi

East Asheville Library

Print & Digital Resources with Broadband

The recently opened East Asheville Library is available for your print and online resources. Digital resources include:

Audio and video file transfer are large files; thus having high-speed internet or broadband is an advantage as seen with the FCC Speedtest App results below on a iPhone.

IPHONE FCC SPEEDTEST APP RUN AT THE EAST ASHEVILLE LIBRARY

The WNC Broadband Project Team is happy to digital tools available in Western North Carolina, including the newest Buncombe County Library.

Digital Literacy Network resources are also available to assist 60+ year old Buncombe County residents.

Categories
Download Internet Latency Speed Speed Test

Best Internet Speed Test

Working From Home Digital Literacy

WFH or Working From Home requires knowledge of internet speeds and the factors that contribute to your online experiences. Running a speed test helps to understand:

  • How long will it take to upload and download files?
  • Videos streaming experience?
  • Video conference experience?
    • Video pixelation – is the video optimized to present you and your network as clear as possible?
    • Audio without latency ?
    • No conference dropouts or re-connects?
  • Responsive smartphone, laptop, tablet, or game console use with your home WiFi?
  • IoT – Internet of Things, that work?

Consider running an internet speed test to understand the variables throughout the day including:

  • Time of day
  • Number of users in household online
  • Video demands
  • Weather – for Wireless Internet Service Providers (WISPs) or satellites

The WNC Broadband project is advocating on your behalf for future-proof solutions that provide internet connectivity and digital literacy for all.


Liam Tung. (2021, June 10). Best internet speed test 2021: Test your connection. ZDNet; ZDNet. https://www.zdnet.com/article/best-internet-speed-test/

Also See

Speed Test Best Practices

FCC Speed Test Mobile App

‌Broadband 101

Categories
Affordability Assurance Wireless Communication Computer Basics Digital Equity Digital Literacy Hotspot Internet Phone Service

Smartphone

Digital Literacy

An Assurance smartphone is free for qualified individuals it comes with 10 Gigs of of monthly internet data for a laptop hotspot.

Periodically the Assurance phone tent can be found in Asheville.

Assurance Wireless Phone Tent in front of the Department of Health & Human Services Building on Asheville’s Cox Avenue (across from the bus station)

If you qualify, Assurance Wireless periodically sets-up a tent in Asheville and provides a free smartphone for life’s needed communication from friends, family, employers, and more.

  • Phone calls
  • Text messages
  • Weather forecast checks
  • Web search
  • Video content
  • Laptop hotspot
  • Telehealth

Additionally, if you are 60+ years old and you are a Buncombe County resident… and have questions or need help in using an Android or Apple smartphone for employment or careers, please contact a member of the Digital Literacy Network for assistance.

A member of our tech team will setup an appointment in-person or virtually.

Assurance Wireless Phone

Learn More About Assurance Wireless Phone
https://www.assurancewireless.com

Categories
Advocacy Affordability Broadband access Digital Equity Digital Literacy NC BIO North Carolina www.DigLit.net

Achieving Digital Equity Is Within Our Reach

Gov. Roy Cooper proposes investing $1.2 billion in federal American Rescue Plan funds in these key pillars necessary to close the digital gap:

  • Infrastructure and access
  • Affordability
  • Digital literacy. 

By investing in these key pillars, North Carolina can achieve digital equity for all.

The Digital Divide | Broadband Infrastructure Office. (2021). https://www.ncbroadband.gov/digital-divide

Digital Equity Resources

Categories
Advocacy Amazon Apple iPhone Digital Citizenship Digital Literacy Digital Policy Facebook Google IoT Microsoft Tech Companies

Big Tech Silo Advocacy

GAMY Security Acronym

As a digital literacy instructor, I commonly get students that don’t understand the big-tech silos and the applications or apps that are associated with each of them, so I’ve authored a new acronym GAMY which could be expanded to GAAFMY:

  • Google (Alphabet)
  • Apple
  • Amazon
  • Facebook
  • Microsoft
  • Yahoo / Verizon

The primary significance is that each big-tech silos needs a security-key to get into their silo. A security-key is a unique combination of an email, username, password, phone number, location, and possibly other multifactor authentications. If you are a Google Business listing, you would also receive a snail-mail post card sent to your physical address; which is yet another piece of security-key data.

Device Security

Each laptop, desktop, smartphone, tablet, IoT, smart TV, smart car or other computer device; individually requires device sign-in security. This device is yet another unique identifier to our profile. When individuals need to change a password, email, or device for an GAMY app; each device must be changed. Ouch!

BTS – Big Tech Silo

These security identifiers are data points held and managed by each big-tech silo (BTS). Is it safe to say, BTS know more about us than our own government? Our government most commonly knows us with only a combination of a name, address, email, phone, social security number.

BTS are the highly profitable growth superstars. Do they keep the best interest of all users when it comes to digital policy making?

Government vs BTS

As users, we really have little recourse to most BTS applications, but to accept their user license agreement or ULA. As individuals, we grant a lot of permission to the will of the BTS. So, who is our advocate of the software and hardware that uses broadband to transport digital information?

So if the Amazon superstar silo says they want new laws, who becomes the effective consumer advocate?

Perhaps we should hold the tech superstars to an even higher standard because of their power over our lives and their influence on policymakers and public perception.

Emily Stewart, writing for Vox’s Recode

WNC Broadband project is your advocate for high-speed internet to use these big tech services.

Who is your big tech silo advocate as a consumer? Especially when is comes to GAMY policy and procedures?

Is our advocate the United States government?

Can policy makers be influenced BTS, including big tech Amazon; without the best interest of the consumer?


.Amazon Wants a Lot of New Laws. The New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/2021/06/03/technology/amazon-laws.html. Published 2021. Accessed June 6, 2021.

Categories
Telehealth Telemedicine

Telehealth

Info from MedlinePlus.gov

What is telehealth?

Telehealth is the use of communications technologies to provide health care from a distance. These technologies may include computers, cameras, videoconferencing, the Internet (ideally high-speed internet or broadband), and satellite and wireless communications.

Some examples of telehealth include

  • A “virtual visit” with a health care provider, through a phone call or video chat
  • Remote patient monitoring, which lets your provider check on you while you are at home. For example, you might wear a device that measures your heart rate and sends that information to your provider.
  • A surgeon using robotic technology to do surgery from a different location
  • Sensors that can alert caregivers if a person with dementia leaves the house
  • Sending your provider a message through your electronic health record (EHR)
  • Watching an online video that your provider sent you about how to use an inhaler
  • Getting an email, phone, or text reminder that it’s time for a cancer screening

What is the difference between telemedicine and telehealth?

Sometimes people use the term telemedicine to mean the same thing as telehealth. Telehealth is a broader term. It includes telemedicine. But it also includes things like training for health care providers, health care administrative meetings, and services provided by pharmacists and social workers.

What are the benefits of telehealth?

Some of the benefits of telehealth include

  • Getting care at home, especially for people who can’t easily get to their providers’ offices
  • Getting care from a specialist who is not close by
  • Getting care after office hours
  • More communication with your providers
  • Better communication and coordination between health care providers
  • More support for people who are managing their health conditions, especially chronic conditions such as diabetes
  • Lower cost, since virtual visits may be cheaper than in-person visits

What are the problems with telehealth?

Some of the problems with telehealth include:

  • If your virtual visit is with someone who is not your regular provider, he or she may not have all of your medical history
  • After a virtual visit, it may be up to you to coordinate your care with your regular provider
  • In some cases, the provider may not be able to make the right diagnosis without examining you in person. Or your provider may need you to come in for a lab test.
  • There may be problems with the technology, for example, if you lose the connection, there is a problem with the software, etc.
  • Some insurance companies may not cover telehealth visits


What types of care can I get using telehealth?

The types of care that you can get using telehealth may include

  • General health care, like wellness visits
  • Prescriptions for medicine
  • Dermatology (skin care)
  • Eye exams
  • Nutrition counseling
  • Mental health counseling
  • Urgent care conditions, such as sinusitis, urinary tract infections, common rashes, etc.

For telehealth visits, just like with an in-person visit, it is important to be prepared and have good communication with the provider.


See More

Telehealth. Medlineplus.gov. Published 2021. Accessed May 30, 2021. https://medlineplus.gov/telehealth.html

Categories
Broadband access Broadband funding House Bill North Carolina

$750M in NC broadband expansion Passed by House

The North Carolina House unanimously approved legislation on Wednesday that aims to spend $750 million in federal coronavirus relief funds to install high-speed internet in rural and remote areas lacking it.

Broadband Legislation

  • $350 million in discretionary American Rescue Plan funds earmarked for North Carolina to expand a relatively new state broadband installation matching funds program with internet providers and electric cooperatives.
  • $400 million in the funds from Congress on a new program that gives counties the ability to put out bids for broadband expansion in underserved areas. Federal aid going to counties also would pay for those projects.

The measure, which now goes to the Senate, meets goals of Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper in his proposal last week to spend $1.2 billion of America Rescue Plan money on improving internet access.

“This is a huge step forward. The flexibility given the counties is a major step in helping fill in unserved parts of all parts of the state. It should help our WNC counties considerably.”

William Sederburg, Chair of the WNC Broadband Project
The G.R.E.A.T. Broadband Expansion Act

Here is the link to the language of the bill as reported by the committee. The WNC Broadband Project Team is not aware of any floor amendments as reported out of committee, not what we are aware of or not.

https://www.ncleg.gov/Sessions/2021/Bills/House/PDF/H947v2.pdf


Also See

NC - Closing the Digital Divide
NC – Closing the Digital Divide

American Rescue Plan – Recommendation Investing $1.2 billion –
Closing the Digital Divide

$750M in virus aid for NC broadband expansion OK’d by House. (2021, May 26). AP NEWS; Associated Press. https://apnews.com/article/nc-state-wire-business-technology-health-coronavirus-pandemic-e757ca933053b92918480a039e53d44d

Categories
Broadband in WNC Broadband Playbook Economic Development Education Infrastructure Maps NC BIO

Broadband Community Playbook

NC Broadband Infrastructure Office

A community leadership playbook is here from the North Carolina Information Technology Broadband Infrastructure Office (BIO).

Playbook Outline

  • Planning Committees – recruit a dedicated group like the WNC Broadband Project and your Council of Governments (COG) to achieve your community’s broadband goals.
  • Assets & Needs – Identify broadband assets to meet our community needs. In Buncombe, Madison, Transylvania, and Henderson County, the Land-of-Sky Regional Council of Governments here here to help.
  • Building the Network – Form partnerships and roles to build you community’s broadband network. Who are your internet service providers (ISPs). What Wireless Internet Service Providers (WISP) do you have available? Are cellular and satellite viable options?
  • Connecting with Partner Providers – Make long-term relationships with broadband provides and your community. Shoot to implement a fiber optic solution, if possible.
  • Policy & Broadband – Create strategie and incentives to make you community attractive to broadband providers.

Review of the Playbook by Marc

Marc narrates the NC BIO Community Broadband Planning Playbook

Contact any member of our WNC Broadband project team today.


Community Broadband Planning Playbook | Broadband Infrastructure Office. (2021). Ncbroadband.gov. https://www.ncbroadband.gov/technical-assistance/playbook

Categories
American Rescue Plan Digital Divide North Carolina

Closing the Digital Divide in NC

American Rescue Plan – Recommendation Investing $1.2 billion

Closing the Digital Divide

The recommendation invests $1.2 billion in broadband access and affordability to close the digital divide in North Carolina. While North Carolina’s economy recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic, the gap between residents enjoying economic growth and those struggling to secure jobs, find housing, and pursue educational resources is widening. The funds will provide access to affordable, high-speed internet in every corner of the state and will ensure high-speed internet is equitably adopted and residents are able to access education, healthcare, and business opportunities.

NC Governor Roy Cooper

NC Gov. Cooper: Governor Cooper Releases American Rescue Plan Investment Recommendations. (2021, May 19). Nc.gov. https://governor.nc.gov/news/governor-cooper-releases-american-rescue-plan-investment-recommendations

Broadband, education atop Gov. Cooper’s $5.7B virus aid proposals

Broadband, education atop Gov. Cooper’s $5.7B virus aid proposals – Asheville Citizen-Times. (2021). Newsmemory.com. https://ashevillecitizentimes-nc-app.newsmemory.com/?publink=286829201_1345d7d


‌Also See – Digital Divide WNC Broadband Blog Posts

Categories
Broadband in WNC Digitally Disconnect Work Remotely

the Great Smoky Mountains

7th of the top 10 National Parks with the Fastest Mobile Download Speeds

A Park to Work Remotely or Digitally Disconnect?

Why are the Blue Ridge Parkway and the Great Smoky National Park some of the most visited national destinations in America? Climate, scenery, outdoor activities, family-friendly and other attributes are likely at the top of the list.

Did you know the Great Smoky Mountains National Park of North Carolina is listed as having one of the fastest mobile download speeds in? In fact is it listed as 7th.

Visiting Great Smoky Mountains National Park

When you travel or vacation in Western North Carolina, are you here to work remotely or digitally disconnect? Likely there is a flavor of both.

Camping with Water, Electricity, Cellular Data and WiFi

A feature of some national campgrounds is public WiFi. With the availability of WiFi or cellular data, connecting to work is likely to happen. Premium camping sites likely have cellular data connectivity. How does available broadband affect your camping location decision?

Broadband for Emergency and Operations

Emergency personnel also depend on broadband to provide services with the volumes. If the law enforcement, medical, or fire personnel need the use of video, broadband speeds are needed. Broadband is considered high-speed internet of at least 25Mbs down and 5Mbs up. Good broadband also means low latency. Not having sufficient broadband can affect park operations negatively with associated services include fuel, food, and logistical topics.

Plan Your Summer Trip

During the spring many folks plan their summer trip. If you trip is to a national park, ask yourself and family; how important is it to be internet connected? Likely if you are sharing photos and videos during your trip, you will need available broadband.


Isla McKetta. (2021, May 19). Fastest Internet Speeds at US and Canadian National Parks. Speedtest Stories & Analysis: Data-Driven Articles on Internet Speeds; Speedtest Stories & Analysis: Data-driven articles on internet speeds. https://www.speedtest.net/insights/blog/mobile-performance-national-parks-us-canada-2021/

Yellowstone Proposes Fiber Optic Network To Improve Telecommunications. (2021). Nationalparkstraveler.org. https://www.nationalparkstraveler.org/2021/03/yellowstone-proposes-fiber-optic-network-improve-telecommunications