As our communities continue to become more digitally-oriented there is a growing digital divide. As governments, businesses, physicians, schools, individuals, move to more electronic and online processes; it is expected the citizens will have internet access, computer devices, and knowledge on how to use technology.
Computer availability is usually with a smartphone with expensive cellular bills. If a home can afford home broadband, Wi-Fi becomes more readily available. For most education, business, and government online transactions a the small screen on a cellular phone is inadequate for transposing needed information; thus, a desktop or a laptop is needed with a larger keyboard, mouse navigation, and larger screen-monitor.
When the internet is available with devices to connect, users need to be skilled to effectively leverage these technology tools. But what happens when there is a bridge between those that do and don’t have internet, smartphone, and a computer? The digital divide develops and grows.
Asheville is leveraging community assets outside the physical school buildings to narrow the bridge of the Western North Carolina digital divide, initially by making Arthur R. Edington Education and Career Center a wireless hub. This hub will provide the Asheville Housing Authority’s Southside Community to potentially have wireless internet access before the end of 2020 through a local internet service provider, Skyrunner.
With the WNC Broadband Project, consider advocating today for broadband, high-speed internet for all. It is a timeless investment for our future.