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Advocacy Broadband access Broadband in WNC Event North Carolina

the NC Broadband Goals

By the Year 2025 – NC Governor Roy Cooper

What are the year 2025 broadband goals as define by North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper?

Improve % of NC Households with Broadband

Governor Roy Cooper wants to increase the percentage of North Carolina households with high-speed internet subscriptions:

  • From 73 % to 80 %.

Boost Broadband for all NC Households with Children

Additionally, the Governor wants to boost the percentage of North Carolina households with children with high-speed internet subscriptions:

  • From 81 % to 100 %

Close Racial Disparities

The plan is also focused on closing racial disparities in access to high-speed broadband and seeks to increase adoption rates to 80 % across racial subgroups including:

  • Native American (currently 57 %)
  • Black (currently 64 %)
  • Latinx (currently 68 %)
  • White populations (currently 76 %)

How will these NC broadband goals be achieved?

Connect WNC with Broadband for All Event

In Western North Carolina on Thursday, July 29; the Land-of-Sky Regional Council of Governments over Buncombe, Madison, Hendersonville, and Transylvania Counties with the Council of Governments west will learn more about the “funding and funneling for WNC broadband connectivity event.

Featured Event Speaker – Topics

  • Stacey Hughes, Impact Officer at the Dogwood Health Trust
  • Nate Denny, Deputy Secretary of Broadband and Digital Equity at N.C. Department of Information Technology – State Program and Policy Update
  • Sara Nichols & Paul Moon – Land of Sky Region B – Digital Inclusion Plan
  • Blair Levin, Non-resident Senior Fellow at The Brookings Institution, Washington, District of Columbia – Watching for Federal Changes

Join Us Virtually


Goldstein P. North Carolina Unveils Digital Equity Office to Help Close Divide. Technology Solutions That Drive Government. Published 2021. Accessed July 28, 2021. https://statetechmagazine.com/article/2021/07/north-carolina-unveils-digital-equity-office-help-close-divide

Categories
Broadband in WNC

Facebook Wi-Fi

Users, Find Wi-Fi

Facebook on a mobile app provides the ability to search for Wi-Fi in an area. The Wi-Fi search will return business names and an area map of this locations as seen in the YouTube video below.

Google Pixel Android Phone – Facebook App > Find Wi-Fi

Reach More People with Wi-Fi For Businesses

How Facebook Wi-Fi Works

Facebook Wi-Fi will allow people to connect to your Wi-Fi without needing to share passwords.

It can also increase the number of check-ins to your Facebook Page, which will allow your visitors’ friends to discover your business.

Getting Started

To get started, add features to your existing Wi-Fi.

The service is free and setup takes about 20 minutes with a compatible router and admin access to your Facebook business page.

If you do not have a compatible router, you can purchase one. This list of Facebook compatible routers shows routers that work with Facebook Wi-Fi and details on how to purchase one.

Facebook Wi-Fi Features and Benefits

Benefits of Facebook Wi-Fi include:

More people can find your business: Get discovered by friends of people who visited your business and millions who search for Wi-Fi on Facebook every month.

Secure access to Wi-Fi without sharing passwords: People who visit your business will no longer need a password to access your Wi-Fi.

Get insights on visitors: Access anonymized information on how many one-time and returning visitors have checked into your Page through Facebook Wi-Fi.

Visit fbwifi.com to learn more about the product.

Or, see if you already have a compatible router and get set up right away.

Wi-Fi – More From WNC Broadband

Categories
Facebook Metaverse

the WNC Metaverse

When or will Western North Carolina experience the metaverse?

Is it here now?

Metaverse refers to a fully realized digital world that exists beyond the analog one in which we live.

As a buzzword, the metaverse refers to a variety of virtual experiences, environments and assets that gained momentum during the online-everything shift of the pandemic. Together, these new technologies hint at what the internet will become next.

New York Times – John Herrman and Kellen Browning

With a Facebook data center in our WNC neighborhood, in Forrest City; is Facebook growing to become part of a metaverse that is moving away from its advertising business?

Elements of a Metaverse

Here are some elements of a metaverse:

  • An economy of unique monetization
    • Digital payments
    • Cryptocurrency
  • Virtual reality
  • Virtual goods
  • Artists and performers in virtual performances
TECH – Mark Zuckerberg and the Metaverse – Casey Newton, Platformer Editor

High-Speed Broadband is Needed

Regardless to when or if WNC reaches the metaverse, quality high-speed broadband will be needed.


Are We in the Metaverse Yet? The New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/2021/07/10/style/metaverse-virtual-worlds.html. Published 2021. Accessed July 24, 2021.

Categories
Broadband access Buncombe Digital Divide Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB)

$50 Internet Discount

What is the Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB)?

The EBB program presents a unique opportunity to bring adults online at a discounted cost.

The WNC Broadband Project team wants to ensure the utilization of this important program for adults of all ages.

Get Help Paying for Low-Cost, High-Speed Internet

The Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB) is a government program to help households struggling to pay for internet service during the pandemic.

EBB provides a discount of up to $50 per month towards broadband service for eligible households.

North Carolina EBB Providers

Who are the NC EBB providers?

How Do I Qualify?

A household is eligible for EBB if one member of the household meets any of the following:

  • Qualifies for the Lifeline program, SNAP, or Medicaid
  • Receives benefits under the free and reduced-price school lunch program or the school breakfast program, including through the USDA Community Eligibility Provision, or did so in the 2019-2020 school year
  • Received a Federal Pell Grant during the current award year
  • Experienced a substantial loss of income since February 29, 2020 and the household had a total income in 2020 below $99,000 for single filers and $198,000 for joint filers
  • Meets the eligibility criteria for a participating providers’ existing low-income or COVID-19 program.

Note that the Emergency Broadband Benefit is limited to one monthly service discount and one device discount per household.

For more information, visit the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) website.

Application Process

Eligible households can enroll directly through participating broadband providers or with the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC).

USAC is the company that administers the FCC’s Lifeline Program. People who are not currently in Lifeline must apply for the EBB Program through the National Lifeline Verifier, which is currently required to enroll in the FCC’s Lifeline benefit program.

Participants of the FCC’s Lifeline program do not need to apply for the EBB Program and must simply opt-in to a plan provided by a participating North Carolina internet service provider.

Digital Literacy Help

In Western North Carolina, the Digital Literacy Network is available to help the 60+ year-old Buncombe County resident by:

More About the EBB from OATS, the Older Adults Technology Services.

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Netflix Ookla Speed Test Video Conferencing

Speed Test Your Internet

Easy Desktop Speed Tests

Running a speedtest on your home or work networks helps you to understand the health of your internet experience on your devices.

Light internet use is associated web search, email, basic video for 1-2 users.

Moderate internet use is associated with >2 users on the network, high-demand video streaming, multiplayer video conferencing, online camming, and telecommuting.

High internet use is basic functions plus more than one high-demand application running at the same time.

How Many Users?

Cross tabbing the number of users and how they use the internet helps you to determine a foundational ‘download’ speed benchmark.

https://www.fcc.gov/consumers/guides/household-broadband-guide

Download Speeds

Most internet speed tests provide download, upload, jitter, latency, ping speeds.

Focus mostly on your download speed service needs; however other data fields refine the internet experience.

  • Basic Service = 3 to 8 Mbps
  • Medium Service = 12 to 25 Mbps
  • Advanced Service = More than 25 Mbps

Speed Test Apps

Take speed tests during different times of the day and you will start to see ranges of service that will correlate to your online-broadband experiences.

Desktop Speed Test Apps

More WNC Broadband Project Speed Test Articles

Fiber to the home or business will always provide the best internet experience. Low-earth orbit satellite, cable, cellular, and wired connections will provide the next-best broadband experiences; depending on the proximity to the providers. Know you internet speed and understand what you are paying for; as America does not have a lot of competition to optimize your internet experiences.

Our broadband project team is advocating for future-proof broadband for all Western North Carolina residents.


How fast is your internet connection? Here’s an easy way to find out. CNET. Published July 12, 2021. Accessed July 20, 2021. https://www.cnet.com/home/internet/how-fast-is-your-internet-connection-heres-an-easy-way-to-find-out/

Categories
Broadband in WNC Digital Divide

The Issue

Device Ownership

What is the core issue with the digital divide in America?

Device ownership is the heart of digital equity and the ‘Gateway to Opportunity.’ says Digtunity.

Help bridge the #digitaldivide. Digital equity is a civil rights issue. This injustices that the digital divide inflicts on people are worthy of outrage and an ugent, societal response.

Digtunity

Bridging the Digital Divide

What is needed?

  • Working computers
  • Internet access
  • Digital literacy skills
  • Technical support
  • Device repair

Who is most affected?

  • Students
  • Older adults
  • Veterans
  • Individuals with disabilities
  • Other Marginalized populations

Digital Divide – 3 Key Issues

  1. Computers – everyone needs a computer with up-to-date functionality and support
  2. Internet – millions of people do not have access to the internet due to affordability or lack of physical connectivity
  3. Digital Literacy – everyone needs to know how to sue a computer safely, and perform common tasks such as sending email, using websites, and utilizing common applications like spreadsheets and word processing

More at the Digital Literacy Network


The Issue. (2021, April 21). Digitunity. https://dev.digitunity.org/the-issue/

Categories
Broadband access Broadband in WNC Nate Denny NC BIO North Carolina Stacey Hughes

Connect WNC

Broadband for All

Updates on Funding and Funneling Broadband

When Land-of-Sky, WestNGN Broadband, and the WNC Broadband Project team identified and starting working in broadband; we had dreams of getting everyone in Western North Carolina connected.

Over the years we’ve had wins that helped keep us motivated, but with limited resources we moved slowly towards our goals. It is now clear that likely upcoming changes to policy, programs, and funding are going to be giant disrupters to how we move forward broadband issues in the region.

We’ve been on pins and needles waiting on answers on how these changes will work in WNC, and we’re looking locally and the state to help fill in the learning gaps.  

One thing that is clear- in order to get everyone connected we’re going to need to deepen our relationship with partners.

Virtual Event Agenda

  • Introduction to Nate Denny, the new Deputy Secretary of Broadband and Digital Inclusion
  • NC Department of Information Technology Staff
  • First draft unveiling of the region’s digital inclusion plan from Land of Sky
  • Stacey Hughes from Dogwood Health Trust
  • Sara Nichols & Paul Moon from the Land-of-Sky Regional Council of Governments
  • More broadband leaders

We hope you can join us virtually July 29th, 2021 from 10-11:30 EST to get updates from leaders on how we CONNECT WNC. 

Register Today

Categories
A-B Tech Broadband access Broadband in WNC Education

Essential Instrument of Equity

Broadband is the Key Instrument

I found 8 members for my band on the Facebook Business Insider article linked below; and, they all have broadband.

If each of my band members wanted to learn or upskill their musical talent, they could use broadband as their instrument to upskill their musical skills by reading and watching online content.

But as Dr. John Gossett references, broadband at home is a resource that could be scarce if multiple individuals needed to connect.

My analogy is that if I wanted to grow my band during COVID, finding students to learn and practice their musical instrument, could be very very hard to facilitate; even if you had broadband.

Broadband internet access contributed [to a decline in attendance at A-B Tech Community College] as did access to internet-capable devices.

Dr. John Gossett, A-B Tech President

No Broadband, No Learning Opportunity

So the thought that I’m trying to communicate is Western North Carolina has a lot of potential musicians or professions that could be upskilled with broadband.

Not having access to high-speed internet or broadband instantly put these community members at a severe disadvantage in life.

What musical talent would you upskill to be considered my band?

  • accordion?
  • acoustic guitar?
  • bagpipes?
  • banjo?
  • bass guitar?
  • bongo drums?
  • bugle?
  • cello?

Hah. Although I played the oboe in high school, I need to start somewhere to improve my ability to plan to play in a concert.

Broadband would be my instrument of initial choice to facilitate a more knowledge and learnings to make myself a better candidate for a band.

Marc Czarnecki, an Experienced Worker Initiative of WNC Team Member, WNC Broadband Project Team Member, & Digital Literacy Network Community Tech

#digitalinclusion #digitalequity


http://www.facebook.com/businessnc. (2021, June 30). Round table: Western North Carolina, rising higher. Business North Carolina. https://businessnc.com/round-table-western-north-carolina-rising-higher/

Categories
Broadband Technology Ookla Speed Test Video Video Conferencing

Video Speedtest For Android

Broadband for Video

OOKLA Video Testing for Android – Now Available on WNC Broadband Marc Czarnecki’s Google Pixel 4a Smartphone

Speedtest Your Network for Video

Speed testing your video broadband is now available on the Android app and iOS app.

Understanding your home and mobile internet broadband speeds will he you understand why you may be experiencing buffering, video or audio issues with streaming a movie or watching YouTube or video conferencing on apps like Zoom, Google Meet, Microsoft Teams, GoTo Webinar, and others.

Your Android phone is only as good as the network it’s connecting to. Find out how fast the internet is anywhere in the world with the free Speedtest Android app and the help of our massive global server network.

Discover your download, upload and ping
Real-time graphs show connection consistency
Mobile carrier coverage maps
Troubleshoot or verify the speed you were promised
Track past tests with detailed reporting
Easily share your results

https://www.speedtest.net/apps/android
OOKLA Speed Test Results – Marc’s Google Pixel 4a 5G on Grove Street in Asheville, NC at about 9:45 a.m. on Monday, July 12th

Video Speedtest Results

The speedtest in the above screenshot indicates:

  • Load Time 1949ms
  • Buffering 0%
  • A maximum resolution of 2160p (4K) is good for video on:
    • Large phones
    • Large tablets
    • Large laptops
    • Large TVs

If you have multiple broadband access points, try connecting and running a speedtest on each access point. Also try running a test early in the morning, evening rush hour, and in at night on various days. These will produce differing broadband speed results with the demands of your access points, including but not limited to; day of week, time of day, other internet connected devices in your home and on the network.

Also See

FCC Speedtest App

OOKLA Speedtest for iOS

Screen recording of OOKLA Speedtest for iOS on an iPhone 7
Categories
Broadband funding Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB) FCC NC BIO Older adults

Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB)

Help spread the this information of funding for the broadband benefit for qualified individuals.

$50 per month for internet service is available

How can you spread information about EBB?

The FCC provides a toolkit to help you marketing with:

  • Offline Marketing
  • Social Media Postings
  • Pairing with other digital inclusion efforts in WNC
  • Public access Wi-Fi locations
  • Device lending locations

A Quick Introduction to EBB

AARP, the Older Adults Technology Services (OATS), and Aging Connected have this short YouTube video on ‘A Quick Introduction to EBB.’

Digital Literacy Network

The Digital Literacy Network of Buncombe County was initiated to help provide technology support for the 60+ year-old.

Join the community efforts today by:

Other Resources

WNC Broadband Blogs Posts on the EBB

How to apply for the Emergency Broadband Benefit

Harnessing the Power of Technology to Change the Way We Age | OATS. (2021, May 20). OATS. https://oats.org/