Categories
Advocacy Broadband access Broadband funding Digital Divide NC BIO

Slow or No Internet?

We Need To Know About Poor Broadband Service

The NC Broadband Survey is designed to gather information on locations without adequate internet access and speeds in our community.

  • For homes and businesses WITHOUT internet service, text 919-750-0553 (standard text messaging rates will apply)

Your feedback directly impacts grant and infrastructure funding in your community.

Categories
Affordability Broadband access Digital Inclusion Fiber Local Government Low-income Access Sandy Mush Terri Wells Wireless

Imperative Internet

Fiber Broadband At the Sandy Mush Community Center

Terri Wells talks about how fiber broadband provides tools to minimize a #digitaldivide at the Sandy Mush Community Center.

Fiber and broadband connectivity are imperative for digital inclusion in our communities.

Bringing high-speed, free internet to the Sandy Mush Community Center has been a life-changer.

Terri Wells

A community center is hub that can provide assistance for education, telehealth, employment, entertainment, and more.

More About SMCC WiFi, Internet

Sandy Mush Community Center Website > WiFi Connection

Fiber Optics – the Timeless Investment

Support the Western North Carolina Broadband Project.

Our WNCBP Advisory Team, including Terri Wells; are advocating for the timeless investment of fiber optics in our communities.

Categories
Advocacy Broadband access Broadband funding Broadband in WNC Broadband Technology Dan Gerlach Education Federal Efforts Greg Vogt Jeff McDaris Jeff Sural Local Government Local Government North Carolina Paul de Sa Stagg Newman Walter Johnson

WNC Broadband Leadership Summit

March 2, 2021

Meet the Experts, Get Broadband Industry Updates, and Closing The Digital Divide in 2021


You’ve been asking questions- we’re paying attention. 2021 will bring a host of changes to policy, funding, technology, and more.

Join us on March 2nd for our annual broadband leadership summit as we hear from local, state, and national leaders on what those changes will bring.

We will be hearing from:

Paul de Sa- “Perspectives on the new FCC directions and Internet Policy and Funding in the Biden Administration”

Paul was part of the leadership team at the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) from 2009-12 and 2016-17, serving as Chief of its Office of Strategic Planning, with a focus on merger reviews, spectrum policy, and broadband, including work on the National Broadband Plan. He is now a senior partner with Quadra Partners consulting and a member of President Biden’s Broadband Transition Team.

Walter Johnston- “Broadband Technology in 2021”

Walter was Chief of the Electromagnetic Compatibility Division of the FCC from 2009 to Jan. 2019. He is now a senior partner with Danu consulting. He is a leading expert in new broadband technologies.

Dan Gerlach- “Foundations and funding questions”

Dan has served the public for 25 years as a budget advisor to Gov. Easley, President of the Golden Leaf Foundation, and interim Chancellor of East Carolina University. He currently is president of Dan Garlach LLC and a consultant to the Dogwood Health Trust.

Jeff Sural- “What to expect at the state level”

Jeff earned his Bachelor’s degree in Journalism from UNC-Chapel Hill and his J.D. from Western Michigan University. Since January 2015 he has been the Director of the Broadband Infrastructure Office (BIO). BIO leads the statewide initiative to expand high-speed internet access for all North Carolinians.

There will also be information from several providers in the region including Charter, Skyrunner, ERC, and French Broad Electric Co-op.

And more……

This event will be held from 10-noon with optional breakout sessions from noon-1pm.

Breakout Sessions

  • Education – led by Jeff McDaris – will hear what K-12 and colleges have done to meet the pandemic and respond to the digital divide. Barry Pace of Buncombe Schools will provide an update on their experience.
  • New Technologies – led by Stagg Newman and Walter Johnston will continue the conversation about 5G expansion, satellite services, and the future.
  • State & Local Funding for Broadband – led by Jeff Sural and foundation partners – will look at the potential for state and local funding for broadband.
  • Federal Policy Changes – Greg Vogt and Paul de Sa will continue the conversation about what the Biden administration and Democratic control of Congress means for broadband improvements and regulations.

Register for this virtual event today! Spaces are limited.

Date: March 2nd
Presentations: 10-12
Breakout sessions: 12-1
Cost: Free

Zoom Registration Link

For questions related to this event reach out to


Does your organization have a digital inclusion activity it offers?

We want to know!

2020 escalated the conversation around digital inclusion and we want to make sure we know what’s going on across WNC. Please let us know who you are and what your organization is doing by completing this brief survey. We will present an update to this project at the March 2nd Summit. 

Digital Inclusion Survey Link

Categories
Advocacy Affordability Broadband access North Carolina

Mediocre Broadband in NC

Who do you call when you don’t have adequate broadband; if you even have access to broadband in North Carolina? NC Department of Information Technology Department of Broadband Infrastructure has accumulated 40, 000 survey results so far and it can be summarized as ‘sorry.’

State of (Sorry) Broadband in NC

How can we summarize these survey results?

Mediocre, an adjective describing of only moderate quality; not very good quality… a State of ‘sorry’ broadband in North Carolina

Take Action

Read more in the article linked below and encourage your community, friends, neighbors, and business to continue providing data necessary for the State of North Carolina to take action!

Respond to the NC BIO Survey

The NC Broadband Infrastructure Office survey can be taken either:

The survey is available in both English and Spanish.


Early North Carolina broadband survey data shows mediocre access – Carolina Journal. (2021). Carolina Journal. https://www.carolinajournal.com/news-article/early-north-carolina-broadband-survey-data-shows-mediocre-access/

Categories
Advocacy Broadband in WNC Grant Money Local Government

Faster WNC Internet

How To Get There

How can Western North Carolina get fast internet?

Although the FCC currently defines broadband as 25Mbs down and 3Mbs up; this is not future-proof because of the growing appetite for internet consumption and contributions. Many communities struggle with DSL, satellite, or cellular connections that experience poor speed and/or latency issues.

Creative and diverse broadband implementation solutions will be needed for WNC!

Broadband Growth for WNC

The Raleigh News Observer article linked below has 2 suggestions to expand broadband in North Carolina:

  1. Local Government Infrastructure Leasing – so that private providers can use fiber lines and power poles to expand service areas.
  2. Grant Money for Rural Broadband – NC currently bases eligibility for grants on data from Census tracts

Support the WNC Broadband Project today.

We advocate for broadband growth that will ultimately provide economic growth, education, and well-being for our beautiful WNC communities.


Campbell, C. (2021). Faster internet is a top priority for the legislature. But how can NC get there? Raleigh News & Observer; Raleigh News & Observer. https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article248704020.html

Categories
Advocacy Broadband funding Digital Inclusion Economic Development Lamar Owen PARI Transylvania

Broadband as a Rural Utility

REA Brought Electricity to Rural America

The availability of power can be taken for granted. As Lamar Owen, Chief Technology Officer at the Pisgah Astronomical Research Institute (PARI) relates to the Rural Electrification Act (REA).

The Rural Electrification Act of 1936, enacted on May 20, 1936, provided federal loans for the installation of electrical distribution systems to serve isolated rural areas of the United States.

The funding was channeled through cooperative electric power companies, hundreds of which still exist today.[1] These member-owned cooperatives purchased power on a wholesale basis and distributed it using their own network of transmission and distribution lines. The Rural Electrification Act was also an attempt made by FDR’s New Deal to deal with high unemployment.

Wikipedia

Rural Broadband Implementation Act

Shouldn’t broadband also become something similar to REA?

A Rural Broadband Implementation Act?

Lamar Owen discusses the topic and how it relates to rural and mountainous Transylvania County, NC in the video below.

Broadband as a Utility in Rural America

Broadband at PARI Series

PARI Website

https://www.pari.edu/

Categories
Advocacy Broadband access Broadband in WNC Digital Divide Digital Inclusion Digital Inequality Economic Development Education

Homework Gap

Now a Learning Gap In Rural America

I am already shocked. As a father of two digitally-connected children, I know first hand of the significant value of having broadband available. The digital value is having computers available, the knowledge of how to apply computers, with broadband being available on demand, to engage with society for knowledge, communication, health, and more.

Additionally, having volunteered at several area schools and community centers, I see the digital divide. If students don’t have broadband available at home, immediately the student is disconnected from our digital world of learning opportunities.

The pandemic has made getting computers and internet connections to households with school-age children a priority. The “homework gap” is sizable. Before the pandemic, some 16.9 million children under the age of 18 lived in households without wireline internet service and 7.3 million live in homes without a desktop, laptop, or tablet computer. What was a homework gap is now a learning gap.

John B. Horrigan

Digital Tools & Learning. (2020, December 10). Benton Foundation. https://www.benton.org/blog/digital-tools-learning

Also See


The author of this article, Marc Czarnecki; helps to minimize the rural divide in America by supporting the WNC Broadband Project.

The WNC Broadband Team advocates for the necessary broadband improvements for our #digitallives.

Categories
Advocacy Broadband in WNC Digital Inclusion

Digital Inclusion

Broadband Planning

Digital inclusion is the ability of all Western North Carolina individuals, groups, and businesses to access and use information and communication technologies. At the heart of communication technology is the the availablabilty of fast and dependable internet.

How should WNC plan for our broadband future?

  • Define our WNC digital inclusion project
  • Organize legislative caucuses to advocate for rural North Carolina’s broadband needs, current state, and future state.
    1. Inventory our broadband assets, digital literacy/skill opportunities, internet access points, computer devices
    2. Future needs of broadband availability, subscription options, affordability, literacy/skills
  • Analyze business case options
    1. Strategies, timelines
  • Set goals and objectives
  • Determine digital inclusion deliverables
  • Assign tasks to achieve inclusion
  • Carry-out and follow-up on actions

Are you interested in supporting the WNC Broadband Digital Inclusion planning?

Please email digitalinclusion@wncbroadband.org

Categories
Advocacy Broadband in WNC FCC Policy

Biden To-Do List

Net Neutrality

The FCC is expected to restore Obama-era net neutrality rules when the agency returns to Democratic control next year.

The Federal Communications Commission is expected to move to restore net neutrality rules after President-elect Joe Biden takes office, undoing the agency’s deregulation of the broadband industry during the Trump administration.

The key regulatory underpinning would be a reclassification of broadband as a service under Title II of the Communications Act. That reclassification would enable the agency to reinstate rules requiring that companies like AT&T Inc. and Comcast Corp. treat all internet traffic equally, and take other actions to regulate broadband providers’ business practices amid the pandemic.

Bloomberg Law

https://news.bloomberglaw.com/tech-and-telecom-law/net-neutrality-tops-to-do-list-for-fcc-democrats-in-biden-era

Support the Western North Carolina Broadband Project Team, advocating for broadband improvement for our future.