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Digital Equity Digital Literacy Grants North Carolina

State Awards $9.9M in Grants to Expand Digital Equity and Literacy Initiatives

Linked below is a summary of the grants issued by the North Carolina Department of Information Technology (NCDIT) for digital equity and for literacy initiatives.

State Awards $9.9M in Grants to Expand Digital Equity and Literacy Initiatives. Published 2023. Accessed January 30, 2023.

Jeff Lee Nantahala Broadband Project Natahala

Natahala-Macon Co. Broadband

Macon County’s Natahala Community is working towards bringing an internet service provider to their area.

Congratulations to Jeff Lee for being a broadband steward in Western North Carolina with the Nantahala Broadband project.

Read More Below

The Southern Scoop. 2023. “Nantahala Community Closer to Securing Broadband Access – the Southern Scoop.” The Southern Scoop. January 25, 2023.


“Nantahala” is a Cherokee word meaning “land of the noon day sun,” a fitting name for the Nantahala Gorge, where the sun only reaches to the valley floor at midday. The Nantahala National Forest was established in 1920 under authority of the 1911 Weeks Act.

Broadband in WNC Healthcare Telehealth YouTube

The Importance of Broadband to Healthcare Access

The University of North Carolina, Asheville; zoom recording from today’s Fab Friday event, available for playback on YouTube.

Time Indexed Links

See the time-indexed topic links in the YouTube description of the video linked above.

00:01:58 – Partnership with UNC Asheville
00:03:19 – WNC Broadband Current Projects
00:04:53 – Broadband Basics
00:08:23 – Increasing Reliance on Broadband – Education, Finance, Online Productivity, Healthcare, Government Forms, Working at Home, Social Impact
00:10:13 – Internet Traffic Volume Globally in Exabytes per Month
00:10:57 – IoT, Internet of Things
00:11:32 – New Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, WiFi as a Foundation
00:13:26 – Multiple Broadband Delivery Systems
00:13:58 – Satellite Service, Starlink
00:14:21 – Fixed Wireless for WNC Mountains
00:14:43 – 5G Cellular
00:16:03 – Broadband Infrastructure Buildout Underway
00:17:01 – BEAD – Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment program
00:17:17 – NC Public Infrastructure – MCNC
00:18:00 – NC Public Infrastructure – Backbone – ERC Broadband
00:18:45 – Fiber is coming
00:19:16 – Broadband is a Private Commodity, Not a Public Utility
00:20:47 – 2020 Internet Data for Buncombe County
00:21:18 – NEMAC Map of Terrestrial Internet Service in Buncombe County
00:21:49 – State of NC Efforts to Close Divide
00:22:13 – Local Broadband Inclusion Initiatives
00:22:58 – Claire Tomlinson – WNC Broadband Current Activities, Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP)
00:29:27 – Yvette Brooks, Through the Trees –
00:40:11 – Karen Sanders, Rock Star of Healthcare
00:41:05 – NC’s Aging Population
00:43:15 – Seniors are on the internet
00:43:47 – Using internet for telemedicine
00:45:24 – Karen’s internet experiences as an RN Patient Advocate
00:52:27 – Passwords
00:54:03 – Seven top questions requiring broadband access – Why are patients and families are asking for help in healthcare?
00:59:40 – Summary of Key Questions on Broadband and Telehealth
01:02:42 – Suggested Virtual Resources for Training or Learning –
01:03:32 – NORAD Starlink Demo
01:05:12 – Grand Summary

Many thanks to OLLI at University of North Carolina Asheville for hosting this event.

Broadband access Healthcare OLLI

Event: Broadband Access for Healthcare

Bill Sederburg, Marc Czarnecki and Karen Sanders will give an update on the WNC Broadband Project and focus on the importance of broadband to provide access to patient portals, telemedicine and other vital healthcare information.

WiFi access and high speed connectivity to the internet (broadband) are now considered vital, but many people, particularly older adults, do not have this kind of access.

The WNC Broadband Project is part of the N.C. Division of Broadband and Digital Equity to close the digital divide for the 1.1 million North Carolina households who lack access to high-speed internet, cannot afford it or do not have the skills needed to take advantage of the digital economy.

Learn more about the effort to provide this vital need from Dr. Bill Sederburg, chair of the WNC Broadband Project, Marc Czarnecki, Business Service Representative for the Land of Sky Regional Council, and Karen Sanders, RN Patient Advocate.

Fab Friday lectures are free and open to everyone and a great way to learn about an interesting blend of subjects.

Osher Lifelong Learning Institute - OLLI at UNC Asheville Fab Fridays
Osher Lifelong Learning Institute – OLLI at UNC Asheville Fab Fridays

Zoom Recording on YouTube

OLLI Fab Friday: “The Importance of Broadband to Healthcare Access”

PDF Referenced By Marc During Presentation

Virtually Connectivity Resources for Digital Literacy

ACS (American Community Survey) Broadband in WNC M-Lab Maps National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) Ookla Population

Indicators of Broadband Need Map

The NTIA ‘Indicators of Broadband Need’ mapping application uses several different data sources to show information on broadband availability within the US.

The Indicators of Broadband Need map was created by the United States Department of Commerce, National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA). The map uses several different data sources to show information on broadband availability within the United States. Layers in this map were created using data sourced from the American Community Survey collected by the U.S. Census, Measurement Lab (M-Lab), Ookla, Microsoft and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).


Legend to the IoBN Map

Western North Carolina

Screen Shot of WNC’s IoBN

Asheville, NC

Screenshot of Asheville, NC – IoBN details available by census tract
Broadband in WNC FCC Maps

Short Timeline for Broadband Map Actions

Residents of WNC should check and if needed, challenge the FCC maps; before January 13th.

The distribution of billions of dollars for broadband is predicated on accurate broadband mapping of the country.

The purpose of quality broadband maps is to identify which areas have inadequate broadband.

The FCC was given millions of dollars to create a national map.

They are now asking citizens to evaluate the FCC map.

A number of errors in the map have been identified by NC residents.

The issue is even more important in WNC due to the terrain.

Are the FCC maps accurate?

If the maps are not accurate, submit a challenge.

The FCC is asking that a review of their data be completed by January 13. Thus, it is important to move quickly to test your location(s) and to respond to the FCC.

See the attached PDF for instructions to lest your location(s).

States contend with short timeline for broadband map changes. Published 2022. Accessed January 1, 2023.