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Digital Divide Digital Inequality Digital Redlining

Digital Redlining

Digital redlining is a term where decision makes deny electronic equipment growth in processes or policies to people and housing in low-income areas.

Digital opportunities could include discriminatory marketing, financial, or residential opportunities.

Is investing in high-speed internet is yet another digital exclusion?

Roots of a Digital Divide

A bill introduced last Friday tackles broadband underinvestment in low-income areas with hopes to address exclusivity agreements between providers and residential buildings.

Could the United States Government and the Federal Communication Commission take action to prohibit digital redlining?

On August 4, 2021 Representative Yvette Clarke of New York started an inquiry on the topic of digital redlining.


Uhunoma Edamwen. Bill to Address Digital Redlining, Exclusivity Agreements Between Providers and Buildings. Broadbandbreakfast.com. Published August 4, 2021. Accessed August 5, 2021. https://broadbandbreakfast.com/2021/08/bill-to-address-digital-redlining-exclusivity-agreements-between-providers-and-buildings/

Nally CW. Redlining in a Digital Age | Burke Costanza & Carberry LLP. Burke Costanza & Carberry LLP. Published August 31, 2018. Accessed August 5, 2021. https://www.bcclegal.com/2018/08/31/redlining-in-a-digital-age/

Text – H.R.4875 – 117th Congress (2021-2022): To require the Federal Communications Commission to issue a notice of inquiry related to digital redlining, to prohibit digital redlining, and for other purposes. Congress.gov. Published 2021. Accessed August 5, 2021. https://www.congress.gov/bill/117th-congress/house-bill/4875/text

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Access Points Broadband in WNC Digital Divide Digital Inclusion WiFi

Mobilizing Digital Navigators

Closing the Digital Divide

Because the digital divide is much more significant with the more rural mountain communities of Western North Carolina, providing mobility of the following assets is needed:

  • Computers, Chromebooks
  • Tech Knowledge
  • Hotspots and/or Mobile Access Points

Having a regular event at consistent locations would be effective in implementing ideas to improve digital inclusion and minimize the digital divide.

We know schools have been successful in implementing school buses with Wi-Fi.

Why can’t mobility be provided throughout the year to strategic community locations like libraries, town centers, or churches?


Mobilizing Libraries in the Fight to Close the Digital Divide – Heartland Forward. Heartland Forward. Published July 23, 2021. Accessed August 3, 2021. https://heartlandforward.org/2021/07/23/mobilizing-libraries-in-the-fight-to-close-the-digital-divide/


Web Tech Czar, Marc Czarnecki is a Digital Navigator and contributing member to the Western North Carolina Broadband Project’s Leadership Team. I welcome resource ideas at Marc@WNCBroadbandProject.org. or by calling 828-365-8299.

More WNC Broadband Project Articles on the Digital Divide

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Airbnb Asheville Broadband in WNC M-Lab WiFi

Airbnb Wi-Fi

Internet Speed is Important for Travelers

Although Wi-Fi availability has been available for hosts to list within the Airbnb app; the app now includes a speed test tool so hosts can also access the tool within the Airbnb app.

With Asheville and Western North Carolina being a top tourist destination, broadband speed is one of the attributes that travelers look for. Also, Airbnb continues to try to attract remote workers and Wi-Fi speed is even more important for this demographic.

Testing your wifi using your Airbnb app

In a host account, the user will find the speed test under the “Amenities” section of a listing and will only an estimate your download speeds.

  • Tap Profile and then tap Switch to hosting
  • Tap Listings and tap the listing you want
  • Under About the listing go to Amenities
  • Next to Popular, tap Edit
  • Go to Wifi, tap Add your wifi speed
  • Run the wifi test and then tap Save

When the user completes a speed test, the app will share that information with Airbnb and M-Lab, an organization that provides Airbnb to the open-source software.

More About Wi-Fi Speedtests from the WNC Broadband Project


https://www.engadget.com/about/editors/igor-bonifacic. Airbnb adds built-in speed test to help hosts include WiFi info in listings | Engadget. Engadget. Published 2021. Accessed August 1, 2021. https://www.engadget.com/airbinb-wifi-speed-test-tool-host-listings-171011280.html

‌Airbnb. Published 2021. Accessed August 1, 2021. https://www.airbnb.com/help/article/3003/verify-your-internet-speed

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Advocacy Broadband access Broadband in WNC Event North Carolina

the NC Broadband Goals

By the Year 2025 – NC Governor Roy Cooper

What are the year 2025 broadband goals as define by North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper?

Improve % of NC Households with Broadband

Governor Roy Cooper wants to increase the percentage of North Carolina households with high-speed internet subscriptions:

  • From 73 % to 80 %.

Boost Broadband for all NC Households with Children

Additionally, the Governor wants to boost the percentage of North Carolina households with children with high-speed internet subscriptions:

  • From 81 % to 100 %

Close Racial Disparities

The plan is also focused on closing racial disparities in access to high-speed broadband and seeks to increase adoption rates to 80 % across racial subgroups including:

  • Native American (currently 57 %)
  • Black (currently 64 %)
  • Latinx (currently 68 %)
  • White populations (currently 76 %)

How will these NC broadband goals be achieved?

Connect WNC with Broadband for All Event

In Western North Carolina on Thursday, July 29; the Land-of-Sky Regional Council of Governments over Buncombe, Madison, Hendersonville, and Transylvania Counties with the Council of Governments west will learn more about the “funding and funneling for WNC broadband connectivity event.

Featured Event Speaker – Topics

  • Stacey Hughes, Impact Officer at the Dogwood Health Trust
  • Nate Denny, Deputy Secretary of Broadband and Digital Equity at N.C. Department of Information Technology – State Program and Policy Update
  • Sara Nichols & Paul Moon – Land of Sky Region B – Digital Inclusion Plan
  • Blair Levin, Non-resident Senior Fellow at The Brookings Institution, Washington, District of Columbia – Watching for Federal Changes

Join Us Virtually


Goldstein P. North Carolina Unveils Digital Equity Office to Help Close Divide. Technology Solutions That Drive Government. Published 2021. Accessed July 28, 2021. https://statetechmagazine.com/article/2021/07/north-carolina-unveils-digital-equity-office-help-close-divide

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Broadband in WNC

Facebook Wi-Fi

Users, Find Wi-Fi

Facebook on a mobile app provides the ability to search for Wi-Fi in an area. The Wi-Fi search will return business names and an area map of this locations as seen in the YouTube video below.

Google Pixel Android Phone – Facebook App > Find Wi-Fi

Reach More People with Wi-Fi For Businesses

How Facebook Wi-Fi Works

Facebook Wi-Fi will allow people to connect to your Wi-Fi without needing to share passwords.

It can also increase the number of check-ins to your Facebook Page, which will allow your visitors’ friends to discover your business.

Getting Started

To get started, add features to your existing Wi-Fi.

The service is free and setup takes about 20 minutes with a compatible router and admin access to your Facebook business page.

If you do not have a compatible router, you can purchase one. This list of Facebook compatible routers shows routers that work with Facebook Wi-Fi and details on how to purchase one.

Facebook Wi-Fi Features and Benefits

Benefits of Facebook Wi-Fi include:

More people can find your business: Get discovered by friends of people who visited your business and millions who search for Wi-Fi on Facebook every month.

Secure access to Wi-Fi without sharing passwords: People who visit your business will no longer need a password to access your Wi-Fi.

Get insights on visitors: Access anonymized information on how many one-time and returning visitors have checked into your Page through Facebook Wi-Fi.

Visit fbwifi.com to learn more about the product.

Or, see if you already have a compatible router and get set up right away.

Wi-Fi – More From WNC Broadband

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Facebook Metaverse

the WNC Metaverse

When or will Western North Carolina experience the metaverse?

Is it here now?

Metaverse refers to a fully realized digital world that exists beyond the analog one in which we live.

As a buzzword, the metaverse refers to a variety of virtual experiences, environments and assets that gained momentum during the online-everything shift of the pandemic. Together, these new technologies hint at what the internet will become next.

New York Times – John Herrman and Kellen Browning

With a Facebook data center in our WNC neighborhood, in Forrest City; is Facebook growing to become part of a metaverse that is moving away from its advertising business?

Elements of a Metaverse

Here are some elements of a metaverse:

  • An economy of unique monetization
    • Digital payments
    • Cryptocurrency
  • Virtual reality
  • Virtual goods
  • Artists and performers in virtual performances
TECH – Mark Zuckerberg and the Metaverse – Casey Newton, Platformer Editor

High-Speed Broadband is Needed

Regardless to when or if WNC reaches the metaverse, quality high-speed broadband will be needed.


Are We in the Metaverse Yet? The New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/2021/07/10/style/metaverse-virtual-worlds.html. Published 2021. Accessed July 24, 2021.

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Broadband access Buncombe Digital Divide Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB)

$50 Internet Discount

What is the Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB)?

The EBB program presents a unique opportunity to bring adults online at a discounted cost.

The WNC Broadband Project team wants to ensure the utilization of this important program for adults of all ages.

Get Help Paying for Low-Cost, High-Speed Internet

The Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB) is a government program to help households struggling to pay for internet service during the pandemic.

EBB provides a discount of up to $50 per month towards broadband service for eligible households.

North Carolina EBB Providers

Who are the NC EBB providers?

How Do I Qualify?

A household is eligible for EBB if one member of the household meets any of the following:

  • Qualifies for the Lifeline program, SNAP, or Medicaid
  • Receives benefits under the free and reduced-price school lunch program or the school breakfast program, including through the USDA Community Eligibility Provision, or did so in the 2019-2020 school year
  • Received a Federal Pell Grant during the current award year
  • Experienced a substantial loss of income since February 29, 2020 and the household had a total income in 2020 below $99,000 for single filers and $198,000 for joint filers
  • Meets the eligibility criteria for a participating providers’ existing low-income or COVID-19 program.

Note that the Emergency Broadband Benefit is limited to one monthly service discount and one device discount per household.

For more information, visit the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) website.

Application Process

Eligible households can enroll directly through participating broadband providers or with the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC).

USAC is the company that administers the FCC’s Lifeline Program. People who are not currently in Lifeline must apply for the EBB Program through the National Lifeline Verifier, which is currently required to enroll in the FCC’s Lifeline benefit program.

Participants of the FCC’s Lifeline program do not need to apply for the EBB Program and must simply opt-in to a plan provided by a participating North Carolina internet service provider.

Digital Literacy Help

In Western North Carolina, the Digital Literacy Network is available to help the 60+ year-old Buncombe County resident by:

More About the EBB from OATS, the Older Adults Technology Services.

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Netflix Ookla Speed Test Video Conferencing

Speed Test Your Internet

Easy Desktop Speed Tests

Running a speedtest on your home or work networks helps you to understand the health of your internet experience on your devices.

Light internet use is associated web search, email, basic video for 1-2 users.

Moderate internet use is associated with >2 users on the network, high-demand video streaming, multiplayer video conferencing, online camming, and telecommuting.

High internet use is basic functions plus more than one high-demand application running at the same time.

How Many Users?

Cross tabbing the number of users and how they use the internet helps you to determine a foundational ‘download’ speed benchmark.

https://www.fcc.gov/consumers/guides/household-broadband-guide

Download Speeds

Most internet speed tests provide download, upload, jitter, latency, ping speeds.

Focus mostly on your download speed service needs; however other data fields refine the internet experience.

  • Basic Service = 3 to 8 Mbps
  • Medium Service = 12 to 25 Mbps
  • Advanced Service = More than 25 Mbps

Speed Test Apps

Take speed tests during different times of the day and you will start to see ranges of service that will correlate to your online-broadband experiences.

Desktop Speed Test Apps

More WNC Broadband Project Speed Test Articles

Fiber to the home or business will always provide the best internet experience. Low-earth orbit satellite, cable, cellular, and wired connections will provide the next-best broadband experiences; depending on the proximity to the providers. Know you internet speed and understand what you are paying for; as America does not have a lot of competition to optimize your internet experiences.

Our broadband project team is advocating for future-proof broadband for all Western North Carolina residents.


How fast is your internet connection? Here’s an easy way to find out. CNET. Published July 12, 2021. Accessed July 20, 2021. https://www.cnet.com/home/internet/how-fast-is-your-internet-connection-heres-an-easy-way-to-find-out/

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Broadband in WNC Digital Divide

The Issue

Device Ownership

What is the core issue with the digital divide in America?

Device ownership is the heart of digital equity and the ‘Gateway to Opportunity.’ says Digtunity.

Help bridge the #digitaldivide. Digital equity is a civil rights issue. This injustices that the digital divide inflicts on people are worthy of outrage and an ugent, societal response.

Digtunity

Bridging the Digital Divide

What is needed?

  • Working computers
  • Internet access
  • Digital literacy skills
  • Technical support
  • Device repair

Who is most affected?

  • Students
  • Older adults
  • Veterans
  • Individuals with disabilities
  • Other Marginalized populations

Digital Divide – 3 Key Issues

  1. Computers – everyone needs a computer with up-to-date functionality and support
  2. Internet – millions of people do not have access to the internet due to affordability or lack of physical connectivity
  3. Digital Literacy – everyone needs to know how to sue a computer safely, and perform common tasks such as sending email, using websites, and utilizing common applications like spreadsheets and word processing

More at the Digital Literacy Network


The Issue. (2021, April 21). Digitunity. https://dev.digitunity.org/the-issue/

Categories
A-B Tech Broadband access Broadband in WNC Education

Essential Instrument of Equity

Broadband is the Key Instrument

I found 8 members for my band on the Facebook Business Insider article linked below; and, they all have broadband.

If each of my band members wanted to learn or upskill their musical talent, they could use broadband as their instrument to upskill their musical skills by reading and watching online content.

But as Dr. John Gossett references, broadband at home is a resource that could be scarce if multiple individuals needed to connect.

My analogy is that if I wanted to grow my band during COVID, finding students to learn and practice their musical instrument, could be very very hard to facilitate; even if you had broadband.

Broadband internet access contributed [to a decline in attendance at A-B Tech Community College] as did access to internet-capable devices.

Dr. John Gossett, A-B Tech President

No Broadband, No Learning Opportunity

So the thought that I’m trying to communicate is Western North Carolina has a lot of potential musicians or professions that could be upskilled with broadband.

Not having access to high-speed internet or broadband instantly put these community members at a severe disadvantage in life.

What musical talent would you upskill to be considered my band?

  • accordion?
  • acoustic guitar?
  • bagpipes?
  • banjo?
  • bass guitar?
  • bongo drums?
  • bugle?
  • cello?

Hah. Although I played the oboe in high school, I need to start somewhere to improve my ability to plan to play in a concert.

Broadband would be my instrument of initial choice to facilitate a more knowledge and learnings to make myself a better candidate for a band.

Marc Czarnecki, an Experienced Worker Initiative of WNC Team Member, WNC Broadband Project Team Member, & Digital Literacy Network Community Tech

#digitalinclusion #digitalequity


http://www.facebook.com/businessnc. (2021, June 30). Round table: Western North Carolina, rising higher. Business North Carolina. https://businessnc.com/round-table-western-north-carolina-rising-higher/