Referencing several Western North Carolina counties, broadband adoption is corelated to health disparities.
A disproportionate number of individuals in the study area live without access to basic health care services and access to specialists, such as cardiologists, because of distance and limited provider availability.
Health care access is improved in areas where broadband and telehealth services exist.
Patients are more aware of their conditions and equipped with self-management techniques to seek medical care when concerns arise.
Buncombe County stories of the lack of reliable internet:
Pamela Smith’s household – not enough bandwidth for her four high-school-age daughters
Amanda Anderson’s household – satellite internet that proved insufficient for online learning for sons age 11 and 14
Barry Pace, director of technology for Buncombe County Schools, said teachers are helping families who have ongoing access issues by giving students hands-on learning kits, thumb drives loaded with assignments and alternative assignments as needed.
All public school students in Buncombe County receive an iPad or a Windows laptop, depending on their grade level, so the key issue is proximity to reliable internet.
But for students who are not in range of a cell tower or whose families can’t afford home internet, there is no quick fix.
Is broadband on your mind with the upcoming Buncombe elections?
Who mentions broadband in their campaign?
Cal Cunningham | Priorities: Lower-cost, accessible healthcare; equitable economy + living wage; investing in rural broadband; raising teacher pay; spreading solar energy; protecting Roe v. Wade; common-sense gun reform; expanding voting rights + more
Thom Thillis (incumbent) | Priorities: Helped pass the Farm Bill; increase broadband access for rural communities; expand + maintain export markets for agricultural products; “right-sizing” solar tariffs; help with national park maintenance; secure borders and use merit-based immigration system; roll back wasteful Obama-era regulations; combat the opioid crisis
NC Commissioner of Agriculture
Jenna Wadsworth | Priorities: Farmland preservation; building resiliency into farm plans to address climate change; promoting hemp and cannabis legalization; increasing opportunities for farmers + rural communities; food science research; rural broadband access + more
Buncombe County Commission District 1
Terri Wells (D) | Priorities: Improving access to high-quality broadband internet; building more greenways + recreational assets; improving local education and increasing access; mitigating the effects of climate change; using tax dollars raised from tourism to improve the lives of residents. DYK: Terri is a ninth generation farmer in Sandy Mush. She serves on the Buncombe County Agricultural Advisory Board and was a creator of the Farm Heritage Trail.
Boosting your Wi-Fi signal is a multi-pronged approach.
Here are six ways you can boost your Wi-Fi signal to receive better Wi-Fi speeds:
1 – Upgrade your router to 802.11ac or 802.11ax 2 – Move your router to boost Wi-Fi signal 3 – Switch to wireless mesh for greater Wi-Fi signal coverage 4 – Upgrade your Wi-Fi receivers and antennas 5 – Use a Wi-Fi extender (AKA repeater) 6 – Make a DIY Wi-Fi antenna booster
A panel of broadband experts, including WNC Broadband Project’s Bill Sederburg, discussed how to embark on a program – either on their own or with partners – to implement broadband infrastructure to benefit residents.
Moe Davis | Democratic Nominee 11th Congressional District
Danny Bottoms | Vision Cashiers; Public WiFi Project
Mike Hawkins | Transylvania County Board of Commissioners Chair
Hunter Goosman | ERC Executive Director/CEO
William Sederburg, Phd. | WestNGN Chair
Federal and state policy issues were discussed in the ‘Vote for Moe Davis’ YouTube video link below.
DISCLAIMER: The WNC Broadband Project, a Western North Carolina community group; is not connected with the ‘Vote for Moe Davis’ campaign. We advocate for the non-partisan expansion, education, and inclusion of high speed internet in our WNC communities.
City of Asheville IT staff is investigating possibilities to provide free broadband in Asheville and Buncombe County.
Free broadband internet would be available in public spots throughout Buncombe County under a proposal by the local government’s information technology department.
“Information Technology staff continue to work with internet providers to explore opportunities for internet connectivity throughout the County (Buncombe Broadband Workgroup) to help those who do not currently have access to high speed internet”
EveryoneOn.org is a government initiative that partners with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to bring internet access in every household.
Freedom Pop is a great platform that offers free internet access for your computer as well as your smartphone. Freedom Pop is exceptional for users who cannot justify their internet expenses because their usage is too low.
Many thanks for Western Carolina University, Smokey Mountain News, Blue Ridge Public Radio, Mountain Xpress for hosting the NC Congressional candidate debate on September 5th with Republican Party Nominee Maidson Cawthorn, @Cawthorn2020; and Democratic Party Nominee Moe Davis, @MoeDavisforCongress on the Facebook livestream.