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Broadband access Community Development Local Government Public WiFi Weaverville

Weaverville Public WiFi

Downtown Weaverville is a North Carolina town that attracts businesses and private residences as a community and it now has public WiFi available.

Like the infrastructure development of roads and walkways, the internet is the communication yarn that connects individuals to educational, tele-health, and economic development opportunities.

We are very pleased to make Weaverville a more entrepreneur and student friendly town by installing free, public wi-fi downtown and at our parks.

Access to the internet is an important economic development tool as well as an educational one.

We appreciate the help of Land of Sky Regional Council in implementing this project which allows locals and visitors to connect to the internet with no fees, no passwords and no hassle.

Patrick Fitzsimmons
Mayor of Weaverville, NC

Sara Nichols is a Regional Planner with the Land-Of-Sky Economic and Community Development team helped make this community connectivity a reality.

Support WNC Broadband Project advocacy for reliable internet for all by contacting a member of the leadership team.

“Trending Dreams | Deep Dream Generator.” 2022. 2022.

Education Hotspot

Hotspots in WNC Education

Connectivity to the internet during the last couple years has tested the need for broadband in WNC. Students needing connectivity to school resources have been a focus with their needs.

The ‘Education Western North Carolina’ booklet covering how the Asheville area education and business community worked closely together to build the elements necessary to support a vibrant economy; including needed internet.

Although hotspots are a short-term solution, the WNC opportunity is to get terrestrial broadband connectivity to every student.

Support the WNC Broadband Project.

Contact a member of our leadership team.

Affordability Broadband access Digital Divide Digital Redlining Education Local Government

Government Technology Strategic Plans

Increasing Demand for Digital Services & Information

Digital redlining can occur when services are digitized and the public to whom the government serve; do not have the access, affordability, or the education to meet the growing demands to connect to digital services and information.

What can Buncombe County and Western North Carolina do to make digitized services and information available?

Support the WNC Broadband Project’s advocacy to make broadband and digital services more available to leverage our strategic connectivity to the internet with homes, businesses, schools, community centers, libraries, and more.

Read More

2020-2025 Buncombe County Strategic Plan

Asheville Fiber Remote Work Telework

Asheville NC Competitiveness in the age of Telework

Telework is the practice of working from home, making use of the internet, email, and the telephone. Remote work from home can help with childcare or elderly care needs. Telework is good for the environment by decreasing commutes and vehicle emissions. What other benefits are there?

Needed: Fast Dependable Internet

Broadband is consider high-speed internet, currently benchmarked by the FCC as 25Mbps down and 3Mbps and possibly in the near future as 100Mbps down and 20Mbps up. Although speed tests can give indications of these metrics, rural broadband could be categorized in speed buckets from slow to fast as:

  • Dialup
  • DSL or Digital Subscriber Line
  • Cable
  • Cellular (3G, 4G, or 5G)
  • Fixed Wireless
  • Satellite
  • Fiber

Where is Fiber Available in Asheville?

States and Cities can plan for Telework

In the Metro Asheville area, teleworking residents will need broadband and with recent Federal and State funding opportunities, get opportunity to connect to dependable broadband is approaching for many that haven’t had this benefit.

For states and cities, telework makes it less important to create local jobs.

Many of your residents won’t need to rely on the local economy for paid work.

They’ll tap into the national or global telework economy instead, earn their money that way, and spend it locally.

Connected Nation

If fiber optics are the high-speed internet benchmarks for ‘future-proof’ broadband, what can Western North Carolina and Metro Asheville, NC do to become more competitive for global telework?

Email to share your thoughts or comments.

“State and City Competitiveness in the Age of Telework | Connected Nation.” 2020. 2020.

BAND-NC - Building a New Digital Economy Broadband funding GREAT Program


What North Carolina funding is available for broadband?

Growing Rural Economies with Access to Technology (GREAT) Grant

The Growing Rural Economies with Access to Technology (GREAT) Grant: The GREAT Grant provides grants to private providers of broadband services to deploy broadband service to unserved areas of the state.

Building a New Digital Economy (BAND-NC) Grants

Building a New Digital Economy (BAND-NC) Grant: The BAND-NC Grants are mini-grants to fund local digital inclusion projects to meet unmet community needs in North Carolina.

State Broadband Plan

Connecting North Carolina State Broadband Plan

North Carolina is within the top 20 for best broadband connected states.

BroadbandNow states, “3.1% of North Carolinians have access to fiber-optic internet service.

But most 120,000 North Carolinians have no wired connection and over 800,000 persons have access to only one internet provider.

The State has been working on solving these issues, with the State’s House of Representatives voting in May “to pass a $750 million broadband expansion measure…to close “broadband gaps” in less developed, rural areas of the state”.

Surveys taken by NC State’s Friday Institute found that “at least 450,000 households, or roughly 10 percent of the state lacks adequate broadband coverage” most seriously within the Blue Ridge Mountains.

North Carolina Broadband Office. Broadband. Money. Published 2021. Accessed February 16, 2022.

Broadband funding Broadband in WNC Dogwood Trust Grant Money GREAT Program NC BIO NCDIT WESTNGN

WNC Broadband ‘Update Table’

Five years ago, advocates convened to prepare a request for negotiations and the WestNGN entity was formed. In 2019 the WNC Broadband Project in conjunction with the University of North Carolina at Asheville was incepted.

Flash forward to 2022, a Western North Carolina ‘Update Table’ is shared with the community below.

  • WNC Broadband Project Chair: Dr. William Sederburg
  • Dogwood Health Trust VP of Impact – Economic Opportunity: Sarah Thompson
  • Sara Nichols, Regional Planner at Land-of-Sky Regional Council
  • N.C. Department of Information Technology (NCDIT) guests:
    • Angie Baily, Director of the Broadband Infrastructure Office within the Division of Broadband and Digital Equity
    • George Collier, NCLM Economic and Community Development Specialist
    • Ben Shelton, Project Manager at North Carolina Center for Geographic Information and Analysis
  • and more…
Land of Sky WestNGN Broadband Q&A with NC Department of Information Technology

Help us advocate for reliable and fast internet in Western North Carolina.

Communication Digital Citizenship Digital Divide Digital Inclusion Digital Literacy Internet skills UNCA

Toolsets for UNCA Students

WNC Broadband Project team member Marc Czarnecki made a presentation to the University of North Carolina at Asheville (UNCA) Mass Communication students on February 8th, 2022.

Toolset Topics for Broadband Advocacy in WNC

The topic: ‘Toolsets’ to help each UNCA student engage on the topic of ‘Internet in Society.’

  • Public Relations
  • Telehealth
  • Education
  • Digital Divide
  • Economic Development
  • Broadband Policies

If you or you know of an advocate for broadband in WNC, please contact Sonya DiPlama, Ph.D, APR, Associate Professor of Mass Communication at UNC Asheville at

Sonya is a member of the WNC Broadband Leadership Team.

Cyber Security Digital Literacy Internet Safety

Safer Internet Day

On Tuesday, 8 February 2022 the nation celebrated the 19th edition of Safer Internet Day (SID) with actions taking place right across the globe.

With a theme once again of “Together for a better internet”, the day called upon all stakeholders to join together to make the internet a safer and better place for all, and especially for children and young people.

Join the WNC Broadband Project to advocate for a safer internet!

“Home – Safer Internet Day – BIK Community.” 2022. Safer Internet Day. 2022.

Economic Development Employer Incentives Remote Work Work at home Work Remotely

Economic Development from Remote Workers

What is Economic Development?

Economic development is the creation of wealth from which community benefits are realized.

In the communities of Western North Carolina, remote workers are an element of the creation of wealth. As recognized by CNBC, Asheville ranked 2nd in LinkedIn of small cities in the nation where remote working is most popular.

Economic development is more than a jobs program, it’s an investment in growing your economy and enhancing the prosperity and quality of life for all residents, says the California Association for Local Economic Development (1).

In a post-COVID remote work environment, USA Today reports that nearly 50% of US workers would take a pay cut for remote work benefit.

From an economic development perspective, work-from-home employees are a huge boon to a rural community that has likely been aging and slowly shrinking over time.

Employees making good salaries can provide a huge boost to a local economy.

For years, rural communities have sunk big tax incentives into trying to attract new employers.

It probably costs a lot less to attract one hundred remote workers than to lure a traditional employer that will bring a hundred jobs. (2)

Pots and Pans by, February 4, 2022

Help WNC advocate for quality, high-speed, internet today.

Contact a member of the WNC Broadband Project leadership team.

1. Sahota G. Economic Development Basics – CALED. CALED. Published July 16, 2021. Accessed February 4, 2022.

2. CCGConsulting. Employees Favor Working from Home. POTs and PANs. Published February 4, 2022. Accessed February 4, 2022.