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Digital Divide Digital Equity National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA)

Workforce For Digital Equity

What is the future of digital equity?

How will digital equity be achieved?

Digital Equity is a condition in which all individuals and communities have the information technology capacity needed for full participation in our society, democracy, and economy.

The National Digital Inclusion Alliance (NDIA) 

Digital Equity Creates Jobs

How will digital equity create jobs in the WNC workforce?

Businesses and employers can start preparing for future digital equity jobs by:

  • Ensuring all of your remote teams have access to high-speed internet, in addition to computers or devices they need.
    • Supporting remote work via terrestrial broadband, WiFi hotspot devices, 5G, or LTE data plans.
    • Checking in regularly with all employees to check that they still have high-speed internet. Never assume they still have it just because they did previously.
  • Sponsoring workshops or one-day digital literacy training events for students that teach responsible internet use and how using technology can boost opportunities.
  • Publishing a whitepaper or guide for educators that provides the best research tactics or teaching methods that promote digital literacy in the home and classroom.
  • Offering a digital job search mentoring program to help students and new graduates make their resumes and LinkedIn profiles “career ready.” Provide computers and internet access, as well as on-site career experts.
  • Sponsoring a coding camp or week-long tech event for students at the elementary or high school level.

Advocating for Digital Equity

Who is a major advocate for digital equity?

Watch this 1-minute clip TEDx YouTube clip on why Mignon Clyburn, former member of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC); ‘Fights To Close The Digital Divide.’

Contact a member of the WNC Broadband Project team to further engage your digital equity ideas.

Knerl, Linsey. 2021. “What Is Digital Equity and How Does It Help Create Jobs?” HP. October 22, 2021.

Wikipedia Contributors. 2022. “Mignon Clyburn.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation. May 17, 2022.

Buncombe Parks

Buncombe Parks – Internet

What is happening with Buncombe County Parks and upcoming internet access?

  • Lake Julian – set to go online any day
  • Owen Park in Black Mountain – future
  • Buncombe County Sports Park in Enka – future

Wi-Fi Internet Maps in WNC

Where are other Wi-Fi lots?

Patel A. Wireless internet coming to several Buncombe County parks. WLOS. Published June 21, 2022. Accessed June 23, 2022.

Digital Communication Digital Economy Idea Ideas Fest

Ideas from Old School to Digital School

After attending the first day of the UNCA Ideas Fest, it was so evident that broadband is part of our acceptance to ‘new-school’ ways and ideas that have scalability for future opportunities with high speed internet.

I appreciate the University of North Carolina at Asheville for setting an environment at the inaugural 2022 Ideas Fest that reminds us that we are evolving to digital ways that require broadband.

Print event agendaCvent app
Transpose text, numbersQR Quick Response code
BookseBook / Audio book
Analog phoneDigital voice
Pen, paper, padGoogle Keep, Apple Notes
Cash transactionsCredit card transactions
Censored librariesthe open internet
Meetings in personVideo conference
Book signingAmazon author ‘follow’
Gasoline carTesla vehicle
Film camerasDigital cameras
Board gamesApp games
In-house gymZoom gyms
Eat-inDoor Dash to home
Work in officeRemote work
Photograph albumSlack channel share of cat, dog, family pictures
Home caregiverHybrid home and work
Resume in personLinkedIn
Energy from fire of gas, coal oilSolar and wind networks
Slow learning curveFaster learning curve with YouTube
In person political actions and protestsOnline websites and social networks
Delivery of package to home, work, or PO BoxSelf-service Amazon Locker
Word of mouth communitiesSocial media channel or group communication
Print map navigationMap apps – Google Maps, Apple Map navigation
‘Old school’ thoughts to ‘New Digital Ways’ by Marc Czarnecki

How does broadband involve your new idea for the future?

Will those that did not have internet service thrive in the future with economic opportunity, education, and telehealth with broadband?

What are your ‘new-school’ ideas? Does it involve the internet?


Broadband in WNC Dish Genesis

Dish-Project Gen5is

As Western North Carolina continues to broaden the search for ‘creative solutions’ as to how high speed internet can be implemented in areas with slow on no broadband, is the Dish Project Gen5is a solution?

 Dish aims to be the first 5G-only network in the country

Asheville is on the list of 120 cities to get Dish Project Gen5is service.

Screen shot from

The WNC Broadband leadership team is eager to hear about your Dish Project Gen5is service.

Please email: with information about your Dish 5G service.

“5G Network of the Future | Project Genesis | Cities.” 2022. 2022.

Clark, Mitchell. 2022. “Dish Says Project Genesis 5G Is Available in 100 Cities, so We Tried to Sign Up.” The Verge. The Verge. June 15, 2022.

Segan S. Can Dish Launch 125 5G Cities by Tomorrow? PCMAG. Published June 13, 2022. Accessed June 15, 2022.

Broadband in WNC Maps NC BIO Survey

Maps are Essential

Major funding is coming to bring broadband improvements to Western North Carolina.

Accurate maps are needed for effective planning and implementation of broadband infrastructure.

The map data will assist with decisions that include when, who, how, where our WNC communities get high speed internet.

Like Alaska, WNC has similar challenges!

“We are at risk of being undercounted with regard to places that are notoriously difficult and challenging to count”

Sen. Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska via State Scoop

Have you shared your home and business broadband information with the State of North Carolina?

Freed, Benjamin. 2022. “Wait on FCC Maps Hangs over New Broadband Program.” StateScoop. StateScoop. June 9, 2022.

Churches College Education Library Non-Profits Stakeholders


The WNC Broadband team applauds the Southwestern Commission and IEI for digging into the topic of digital inclusion planning.

Stakeholders from various groups will need to work together to bridge the digital divide:

  • Community colleges
  • Libraries
  • Schools
  • Nonprofits
  • Churches
  • Experts in the fields of healthcare, aging, economic development, housing
Heather RussoLack of Broadband Access Impedes Student Success in the Cherokee County Schools
Lauren Callagan & Jensen StephensonSylva to Cullowhee, NC: The Hidden Community in the Mountains-Understanding the Importance of Broadband Development in Rural Communities
UNCA Mass Communication Projects Related to the SW Commission

Community Stakeholder – Call to Action

Contact the leadership team of WNC Broadband today.

Chang, Kirsten. 2022. “Southwestern Commission Leads WNC in Digital Inclusion Planning Process.” Institute for Emerging Issues. 2022.

Advocacy Broadband in WNC NCDIT

WNC Broadband Support of NCDIT

Federal and state opportunities need local community collaboration with North Carolina Department of Information Technology’s broadband infrastructure team including Nate Denny, Deputy Secretary of Broadband and Digital Equity.

Nate recently shared the following email:

NCDIT’s broadband mission has evolved in a huge way in a very short time. When I joined NCDIT in 2017, the Broadband Infrastructure Office was a team of six. The team, then led by Jeff Sural, provided technical support to communities across the state on expanding high-speed internet access and adoption, and a single member of that team – the inimitable Amy Huffman – was focused on digital inclusion work. Governor Cooper had just requested $25 million to fund a new last-mile infrastructure incentive program, and the General Assembly was discussing funding a $10 million pilot. There was no public funding for adoption efforts.

We’ve come a long way in a short time.

The pandemic gave everyone a new appreciation of the work all of you have been doing for years. Broadband access and digital equity are now central to NCDIT’s mission, and thanks to the Biden Administration, Governor Cooper, and the N.C. General Assembly, we now have more than $1 billion in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding to close the digital divide and are preparing for even more funding from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA).

Most importantly, Governor Cooper created a new Office of Digital Equity and Literacy adjacent to the Broadband Infrastructure Office, charged with making sure North Carolinians can afford high-speed internet subscriptions and have the devices and digital skills needed to participate in the modern economy.

I’m thrilled to report that our digital equity team is complete (for now)!

For almost a year, Kiya Edwards has done great work planning ARPA digital equity implementation and preparing the state to seek additional federal and philanthropic funds. She has identified National Governors Association grant funding to help support digital navigator resources, and she’s led our Affordable Connectivity Program outreach. I’m very grateful for Kiya’s efforts and am thrilled that we’ll have a bigger team supporting and building on her work.

Annette Taylor joined our team as the new director of the Office of Digital Equity and Literacy in May. She is leading implementation of Governor Cooper’s $50 million digital equity plan and preparing North Carolina to maximize its share of IIJA digital equity funding. And she is charged with working directly with all of you to build the valuable stakeholder input mechanisms that will help us successfully implement digital equity work. Annette’s experiences building the N.C. Lottery Commission’s minority business participation program and leading community engagement for Congressman G.K. Butterfield show she’s uniquely equipped for these challenges.

I’m glad to announce that Maggie Woods also is joining the Office of Digital Equity and Literacy from N.C. State’s Institute for Emerging Issues, where she built and led the successful BAND-NC grant program supporting county digital inclusion planning. Maggie has shown stellar digital equity leadership for North Carolina and nationally over the last few years, and we’re very fortunate that she’s joined our team.

I’ll soon share more details about the broadband infrastructure team, but today I want to recognize and thank Annette, Kiya, and Maggie for the work they’re doing to build digital equity in North Carolina.

Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me at or Annette at if you have any questions or feedback.

Nate Denny, Deputy Secretary of Broadband and Digital Equity

WNC Broadband Advocacy

The Western North Carolina Broadband leadership team, chaired by Dr William Sederburg; aspires further WNC community engagement with universities, community colleges, cities, counties, etc.

Email Your Suggestions

Please send an email to with your thoughts and ideas for the WNC Broadband leadership team.