Broadband funding Economic Development Small Business

Invest in Broadband

North Carolina’s 11th Congressional District 

Madison Cawthorn of North Carolina’s 11th congressional district (encompassing most of Western North Carolina) indicates to the Council of Independent Business Owners of his goals including investing in broadband.

Bring High-Tech Infrastructure and Increase Broadband 

Cawthorn also wants to bring high-tech infrastructure and increase broadband to outlying counties to attract new businesses.


WLOS staff. (2021, January 29). Congressman Cawthorn talks business during Asheville CIBO meeting. WLOS; WLOS.

5g Telecom Industry Workforce

Broadband Workforce

The telecom industry needs assistance to meet the needs of a growing broadband workforce.

“Congress should also bolster the capabilities of institutions of higher education, which have not kept pace with the rapid growth of our industry and the need for curricula necessary to ensure a diverse workforce capable of deploying fiber and 5G infrastructure for commercial mobile and fixed wireless networks…

There is also a need to modernize existing programs, including hands-on field activities for broadband deployment and better data to inform program design and measure success. 

To ensure funds target actual needs, employers should drive public-private partnerships with community colleges, universities, and other institutions to develop degrees and programs of study on broadband deployment and 5G training. “

WIA – Wireless Infrastructure Association

Telecom Industry Unites Behind Call for Broadband Workforce Development to White House, Congress – WIA. (2021, January 27). WIA.

How can Western North Carolina assist?

Advocacy Broadband funding Digital Inclusion Economic Development Lamar Owen PARI Transylvania

Broadband as a Rural Utility

REA Brought Electricity to Rural America

The availability of power can be taken for granted. As Lamar Owen, Chief Technology Officer at the Pisgah Astronomical Research Institute (PARI) relates to the Rural Electrification Act (REA).

The Rural Electrification Act of 1936, enacted on May 20, 1936, provided federal loans for the installation of electrical distribution systems to serve isolated rural areas of the United States.

The funding was channeled through cooperative electric power companies, hundreds of which still exist today.[1] These member-owned cooperatives purchased power on a wholesale basis and distributed it using their own network of transmission and distribution lines. The Rural Electrification Act was also an attempt made by FDR’s New Deal to deal with high unemployment.


Rural Broadband Implementation Act

Shouldn’t broadband also become something similar to REA?

A Rural Broadband Implementation Act?

Lamar Owen discusses the topic and how it relates to rural and mountainous Transylvania County, NC in the video below.

Broadband as a Utility in Rural America

Broadband at PARI Series

PARI Website

Broadband access Broadband in WNC Community Development Devices Digital Divide Digital Inclusion

Bridging the Digital Divide

IEI BAND-NC Broadband Initiative

First in Digital Inclusion

While Western North Carolina continues to strive for opportunities to maximize our broadband growth, the Institute for Emerging Issues (IEI), BAND-NC, and NC Broadband Infrastructure Office have a goal of increasing the number of North Carolinians with internet in their homes, making NC “first in digital inclusion.”

Community Challenges

The program outlined four challenges communities have in including all families in broadband services:

  1. Access—getting broadband into homes
  2. Subscriptions—helping families afford broadband services. In all, just 59% of North Carolina families subscribe to broadband services
  3. Devices—ensuring that children and adults have the equipment they need to take classes, work from home, or access health care
  4. Technical Assistance—assisting families in learning how to effectively use high-speed access

BAND-NC asks communities to develop solutions that address each of these issues. Data from the NC Broadband Infrastructure Office shows wide disparities in adoption of broadband services, with both a rural-urban and an income divide. The ultimate goal of the program is to make North Carolina the first state in the nation where every county has a digital inclusion plan in place.

Join the WNC Broadband Initiative in making Western North Carolina more ‘digitally inclusive.’

Corning Optical Communications joins IEI BAND-NC broadband initiative to bridge digital divide. (2021, January 22). Institute for Emerging Issues.

Broadband in WNC Latency Relevancy Satellite SpaceX Starlink Transylvania Video Conferencing

Low Earth Orbit Satellites

LEO as a Broadband Solution

Headlines commonly provide updates to Elon Musk’s SpaceX Starlink program. The SpaceX satellites are low earth orbiting satellites (LEO).

What are the pros and cons of low earth orbit satellites as a potential broadband solution?

Lamar Owen, Chief Technology Officer at the Pisgah Astronomical Research Institute (PARI) provides some insights in this series of recordings on the topics of broadband and PARI.

SpaceX Downlink, Uplink, Latency, and Capacity

The internet user experience can be associated with key broadband metrics, including the download, upload, and broadband latency. Additionally, our WNC Broadband project team member, Stagg Newman questions the capacity of a SpaceX satellite and its ability to serve communities.

We need to consider whether Space X can provide the downlink and uplink speeds needed, the low latency, and importantly the capacity to help solve the WNC Broadband challenges.

Stagg Newman, Former Chief Technologist, U.S. National Broadband Team, FCC

Stagg Newman, a WNC Broadband Project Team lead; also provides the link below on capacity and other challenges of SpaceX.

One way to think about SpaceX capacity is to realize that the entire capacity of the SpaceX satellite fleet that will be over the United States at any one time is about the same capacity as one single fiber equipped with the latest and greatest opto-electronics!

Stagg Newman, Former Chief Technologist, U.S. National Broadband Team, FCC

The WNC Broadband Project Team will be hosting a WNC Broadband Summit with UNCA and the Dogwood Health Trust in early March. Stay tuned for details and please contact a member of the WNC Broadband Project Team with any questions.

Also See

Broadband at PARI Series

PARI Website

Broadband in WNC Education Lamar Owen Latency PARI Transylvania Video Conferencing

Video Conferencing and Education

Broadband Matters

WNC Broadband Project series on broadband continues at the Pisgah Astronomical Research Institute with Marc Czarnecki learning from Lamar Owen, Chief Technology Officer at PARI… why broadband matters with video conferencing for education.

Broadband latency is critical to ‘glitch-freeness’ as Lamar states.

Bandwidth is really key. Latency is key reliability for glitch-freeness which is very important to the student experience to keep the educational experience from being impeded by technical issues.

Lamar Owen, CTO at PARI
Lamar Owen provides technical perspectives from PARI on broadband and latency.

Also See

Broadband at PARI Series

PARI Website

Broadband in WNC Education Lamar Owen PARI Transylvania

Virtual Education with Broadband

Broadband at PARI or the Pisgah Astronomical Research Institute series continues; with the topic of virtual education.

Lamar Owens, Chief Technology Officer discusses that good broadband is needed for:

  • Space Kits program –
  • Video conference with Dr. Patricia Craig –
  • Using online tools like :
    • Discord for students to communicate directly via voice, video, or text, and join servers where larger communities can interact together.
    • GroupMe for private chat room for small groups.

Broadband at PARI Series

PARI Website

Broadband access Broadband in WNC Fiber Lamar Owen PARI Transylvania

Future of Broadband at PARI

As part 4 of a series of questions for Marc Czarnecki, WNC Broadband Project Team; Lamar Owen, Chief Technology Officer at the Pisgah Astronomical Research Institute or PARI was ask about the future of broadband for their area.

Resiliency or the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties – completing a fiber loop to Jackson County and Western Carolina University

Lamar Owen, CTO at PARI

Broadband at PARI, the Series

PARI Website

Broadband Technology Lamar Owen Latency PARI Satellite Transylvania

Broadband Enabled

What has broadband enabled at the Pisgah Astronomical Research Institute (PARI)?

PARI Satellite Dish

As part 3 of the WNC Broadband Project’s inquiry around high speed internet at PARI, Chief Technology Officer Lamar Owen provides insights in this video recording to Marc Czarnecki.

Also see – PARI Broadband Series

Part 1 – Introduction to Lamar

Part 2 – History of Broadband at PARI

Broadband in WNC Broadband Technology Data Education Lamar Owen PARI Transylvania

Broadband History

PARI’s Internet Connectivity

NO, broadband did NOT fall out of the sky and land in Rosman, NC; although PARI does have an impressive collection of artifacts from outside of our planet earth.

World-Class Collection of ‘Things from the Sky’

In part 1 of this series, Lamar Owen, Chief Technology Officer at the Pisgah Astronomical Research Institute continues to answer Marc Czarnecki’s inquiry about the history of broadband at PARI.

Part 3 – What has broadband enabled at PARI?

More about PARI’s World Class Facility, including their exhibit galleries –