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Digital Equity NCDIT Planning

Broadband and Digital Equity Draft 5-year Plan

The NCDIT Division of Broadband and Digital Equity has developed a draft five-year plan outlining how the agency will invest $1.5 billion in federal funds for the Broadband Equity, Access, and Development (BEAD) program for high-speed internet infrastructure.

Read the State of North Carolina’s BEAD Program Five-Year Plan Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) Program draft for public comments at or download here.

The plan will be submitted to the United States Department of Commerce – National Telecommunications and Information Administration by July 29.

BEAD Program Broadband in WNC Digital Divide Unserved

Biden-Harris Administration Announces State Allocations for $42.45 Billion High-Speed Internet Grant Program as Part of Investing in America Agenda

The Biden administration has expressed a commitment to improving and expanding broadband infrastructure across the United States as part of its infrastructure plan, with particular focus on reaching underserved areas and closing the “digital divide.”

The Broadband Equity Access and Deployment (BEAD) program allocates how much each state is getting to address deployment challenges.

The Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) announced on Monday:

  • More than $42 billion from the 2021 bipartisan infrastructure law will be distributed to US states and territories for building internet access. North Carolina received $1,532,999,481.15.
376,039 broadband unserved in NC

The White House compared Monday’s announcement to the Rural Electrification Act of 1936, which delivered electricity to every home in America.

The “unprecedented investment in broadband is going to finally close the digital divide,” White House Chief of Staff Jeff Zients said.

  • Every state will have six months to submit initial proposals to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration that outlines what they will do with the funds, said senior administration officials. Once plans are approved, states will be able to access up to 20 percent of the allocated funds.
  • The BEAD program is the largest of three programs funded under the $65 billion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and funds last mile infrastructure to connect to unserved and underserved communities.
  • The IIJA defines “unserved” as homes that lack access to broadband at 25 Megabits per second (Mbps) download and 3 Mbps upload. “Underserved” homes are defined as those that lack access to 100 Mbps down and 20 Mbps up.
  • “Put simply, high-speed Internet is a necessity in today’s society,” said Mitch Landrieu, Senior Advisor to the President and White House Infrastructure Coordinator. “
  • Just like President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s Rural Electrification Act made a historic investment in rural areas bringing electricity to nearly every home in America, President Biden and Vice President Harris are committed to leaving no community behind as we connect everyone in America to high-speed Internet.”

The BEAD funding will be used to deploy or upgrade broadband networks to ensure that everyone has access to reliable, affordable, high-speed Internet service.

Once deployment goals are met, any remaining funding can be used to pursue eligible access-, adoption-, and equity-related uses.

Digital Literacy Internet skills Library

7 Reasons To Use A Digital Library

Using a digital online library to learn new skills offers several advantages for individuals. 

Domains of a digital library can include learning:

  • Creative & Communication Skills
  • Computer Devices and Applications for Mobile or Desktop Computers
  • News and Information Skills
  • Lifelong Learning Including Healthcare Topics
  • Online, Social Life
  • Privacy & Security
  • Workplace, Employability Skills

Here are some compelling reasons why you should reference an online digital liberary:

1. Access to a vast range of resources: Digital online libraries provide access to an extensive collection of books, articles, tutorials, videos, and other educational materials. This vast range of resources allows individuals to explore various subjects and acquire knowledge on diverse topics.

2. Convenience and flexibility: Online libraries offer the convenience of accessing learning materials anytime and anywhere. Learners can access resources from their computers, tablets, or smartphones, eliminating the need to physically visit a brick-and-mortar library. This flexibility enables individuals to learn at their own pace and fit their studies into their busy schedules.

3. Cost-effective learning: Digital online libraries often provide free or affordable access to educational materials. This accessibility helps individuals save money on purchasing physical books or subscribing to expensive learning platforms. It democratizes education by making valuable resources available to people with limited financial means.

4. Updated and current information: Online libraries frequently update their collections, ensuring that learners have access to the most up-to-date and relevant information. This is particularly crucial in rapidly evolving fields such as technology, where outdated resources can quickly become obsolete. Digital libraries enable individuals to stay abreast of the latest trends and advancements in their areas of interest.

5. Diverse learning formats: Online libraries offer resources in various formats, including e-books, audiobooks, videos, and interactive tutorials. This diversity accommodates different learning styles and preferences. For instance, visual learners may benefit from video tutorials, while others may prefer reading e-books or listening to audiobooks.

6. Global learning community: Digital libraries often foster online communities where learners can interact, collaborate, and seek help from fellow learners and experts. Engaging with a global learning community allows individuals to exchange ideas, share experiences, and gain insights from diverse perspectives. This sense of community can enhance the learning experience and provide valuable networking opportunities.

7. Self-paced learning: Digital libraries enable self-paced learning, allowing individuals to customize their learning journeys based on their specific needs and interests. Learners can choose their desired topics, delve deep into specific areas, and revisit materials as often as necessary. This autonomy empowers individuals to take control of their learning process.

Digital Library Resources

Here are some examples of digital libraries:

Overall, utilizing a digital online library for skill development offers individuals the convenience, accessibility, and abundance of resources necessary to enhance their knowledge and acquire new skills effectively.

If you do not have access to high speed internet at home, consider using resources that include community centers, churches, libraries, and career centers.

Help WNC Broadband support digital literacy opportunities.  Email 

Digital Divide Haywood County Laptop

Laptops for WNC

The digital divide is the opportunity gap between those who have ready-access to computers and the internet, and those who do not.

In this day and age, one cannot prosper without full access to online resources.

E2D collects used laptops from generous corporations, refurbishes them in student-led technology labs, and distributes them to student families who don’t have a computer at home.

WNC Broadband and the associated Southwestern and Mountain Area Regional Councils of Government can be proud to have engaged with E2D at the Mill Town Strong Career & Resource Fair in Canton on June 16 where hundreds of laptops were provided to workforce and economic development representatives from Western North Carolina to benefit local families and students.

Home | E2D | Davidson | Computer Donation, Accessed 21 June 2023.

Charlotte Devices Employment Haywood County Laptop NCWorks Career Center Pactiv-Evergreen

Laptops for Displaced Pactiv-Evergreen Workers

The Mill Town Strong Career & Resource Fair is set to take place on Friday, June 16th, from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm at the Smoky Mountain Event Center in Waynesville. 

Primarily aimed at workers impacted by the closure of the paper mill, the invitation is for all job seekers in the region.

With employers from industries in Buncombe, Haywood, Henderson, Jackson and Macon Counties confirmed to attend, this fair presents a unique opportunity for individuals seeking new career paths and fresh employment prospects.

The event will showcase a broad range of industries, including education, manufacturing, hospitality and tourism, aerospace, software development, trades, construction, public service, government, and more (if you’re an employer who wants to attend, contact Linda Lamp at the Commission).

In collaboration with E2D (Eliminate the Digital Divide), FREE refurbished laptops with a 2-month technical warranty will be offered for the first 200 dislocated workers to register at the NCWorks RV or table.

It is important to note that laptop quantities are limited to one per household, and the household must include a worker who has lost their job due to the mill closure.

Devices Digital Equity Education Employment Healthcare

Computer Ownership – the Heart of Digital Equity

Computer device ownership is considered the heart of digital equity in America because access to computers and other digital devices is crucial for participating fully in today’s society.

Here are a few reasons why computer device ownership is essential for achieving digital equity:

  1. Access to Information: Computers and digital devices provide access to vast amounts of information available on the internet. They enable individuals to research, learn, and stay informed about various subjects, ranging from education and health to job opportunities and current events. Without access to computers, individuals may be limited in their ability to access vital information, which can create disparities in knowledge and opportunities.
  2. Education and Skill Development: Computer device ownership is crucial for students’ academic success. Many educational institutions now incorporate digital tools and online resources into their curriculum. Students without access to computers at home may face challenges completing assignments, conducting research, or accessing educational platforms. By owning a computer device, students can fully engage in digital learning, acquire digital literacy skills, and explore educational opportunities beyond the traditional classroom.
  3. Employment and Economic Opportunities: In today’s digital age, computer literacy and digital skills are increasingly necessary for most jobs. Having access to computers enables individuals to learn and develop these skills, which can improve their employment prospects and open doors to better career opportunities. Additionally, computer device ownership allows individuals to search for jobs online, create resumes, and connect with potential employers, expanding their access to the job market.
  4. Civic Engagement and Social Participation: Owning a computer device empowers individuals to engage in civic activities and participate in the democratic process. It allows them to access government services, communicate with elected representatives, and stay informed about local and national issues. Furthermore, computer ownership facilitates social connectivity through social media platforms, online communities, and communication tools, enabling individuals to connect with others, build relationships, and access support networks.
  5. Health and Well-being: Computer devices play a significant role in accessing healthcare information, telemedicine services, and managing personal health. Through digital devices, individuals can research health conditions, access medical resources, schedule appointments, and engage in virtual consultations. Without computer device ownership, people may face difficulties in obtaining necessary health information and services, potentially impacting their overall well-being.

By recognizing computer device ownership as a crucial aspect of digital equity, efforts can be made to bridge the digital divide and ensure that all individuals, regardless of their background or socioeconomic status, have equal access to the digital tools and resources necessary for success in various domains of life.

Access Points ACP - Affordable Connectivity Program Asheville Broadband access Buncombe Computer Basics Digital Literacy Employment Public WiFi WiFi

Internet Connectivity Resources

In the Asheville Metro, NC area, there are several resources available for computers, internet access, and digital literacy.

Here are some organizations and programs that provide support in these areas:

  1. Buncombe County Libraries: 13 locations that include downtown Asheville, East/West/North/South, Enka-Candler, & Black Mountain to name a few. The locations provide:
  2. Goodwill Asheville at Patton Avenue, also provides office technology and skills classes in conjunction with Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College. –
  3. NCWorks Career Center of Asheville at 48 Grove Street M-F 8:30 – 12:30 and 1:30 – 4:30 has computers, WiFi access, and a printer for employment assistance.
  4. Local Internet Service Providers (ISPs): Several ISPs operate in Asheville, including AT&T, Charter Spectrum, and Frontier Communications. Contact these providers to inquire about their plans, pricing, and availability in your specific area. Qualified low-income homes may also qualify for the ACP or Affordable Connectivity Program for $30 monthly discount – 
  5. WNC Digital Inclusion Asset Inventory Map

Additionally, it’s worth checking with local community centers, nonprofit organizations, and public schools, as they may offer resources or programs related to digital literacy and internet access.

DSL Fiber Gaming Internet Speed Streaming Symmetrical Upload and Download

Upgrading to Fiber Broadband: A Leap from DSL into the Future of Internet Speeds

In today’s digital age, a reliable and fast internet connection has become a necessity for both work and leisure.

With the ever-increasing demand for high-speed internet, many households are transitioning from slower DSL (Digital Subscriber Line) connections to cutting-edge fiber broadband.

In this blog post, we will explore the benefits of upgrading to fiber broadband and why it’s a game-changer for home internet speeds.

  1. Lightning-Fast Speeds:
    One of the most significant advantages of fiber broadband is its lightning-fast speeds. Unlike DSL, which relies on copper cables, fiber optics use thin strands of glass or plastic to transmit data at the speed of light. This allows for significantly higher bandwidth, resulting in incredibly fast download and upload speeds. Whether you’re streaming high-definition videos, participating in online gaming, or downloading large files, fiber broadband ensures a seamless and lag-free experience.
  2. Symmetrical Upload and Download Speeds:
    Unlike DSL connections, which typically have asymmetrical speeds, fiber broadband offers symmetrical upload and download speeds. This means that you’ll enjoy equally fast data transfer rates in both directions. This symmetrical speed is particularly beneficial for activities such as video conferencing, cloud storage, and sharing large files. With fiber, you’ll experience enhanced productivity and smoother collaboration, making it an ideal choice for remote workers and businesses operating from home.
  3. Uninterrupted Streaming and Gaming:
    Slow internet speeds can be frustrating, especially when it comes to streaming high-quality videos or engaging in online gaming. Fiber broadband eliminates buffering and latency issues, providing a seamless streaming experience. With faster and more stable connections, you can enjoy uninterrupted HD or 4K streaming without annoying pauses or quality degradation. Similarly, gamers will appreciate the reduced latency, enabling quick response times, smooth gameplay, and a competitive edge in multiplayer environments.
  4. Future-Proof Technology:
    Investing in fiber broadband is not just about the immediate benefits—it’s also a future-proof solution. As our reliance on the internet continues to grow, technologies like virtual reality, augmented reality, and the Internet of Things (IoT) will become more prevalent. These advanced applications demand higher bandwidth and low latency, which fiber broadband can effortlessly provide. By upgrading now, you’ll be well-prepared for the digital advancements of tomorrow.
  5. Reliability and Scalability:
    Fiber broadband is highly reliable and less susceptible to external factors that can disrupt connectivity. Unlike copper cables used in DSL, fiber optics are immune to electromagnetic interference, weather conditions, and electrical disturbances. Additionally, fiber networks have the capacity to handle increasing data demands, making them easily scalable as technology evolves. With fiber, you can enjoy a stable and future-proof internet connection that’s resilient to performance fluctuations.

In Conclusion

Upgrading from DSL to fiber broadband is a transformative leap in internet technology.

With its lightning-fast speeds, symmetrical upload and download rates, and unmatched reliability, fiber broadband ensures a superior online experience.

Whether you’re a heavy internet user, remote worker, or gaming enthusiast, fiber broadband opens up a world of possibilities, allowing you to embrace the full potential of the digital age.

Don’t settle for sluggish speeds—embrace the future with fiber broadband.