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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

Categories
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.

Categories
Broadband access Broadband in WNC Nate Denny NC BIO North Carolina Stacey Hughes

Connect WNC

Broadband for All

Updates on Funding and Funneling Broadband

When Land-of-Sky, WestNGN Broadband, and the WNC Broadband Project team identified and starting working in broadband; we had dreams of getting everyone in Western North Carolina connected.

Over the years we’ve had wins that helped keep us motivated, but with limited resources we moved slowly towards our goals. It is now clear that likely upcoming changes to policy, programs, and funding are going to be giant disrupters to how we move forward broadband issues in the region.

We’ve been on pins and needles waiting on answers on how these changes will work in WNC, and we’re looking locally and the state to help fill in the learning gaps.  

One thing that is clear- in order to get everyone connected we’re going to need to deepen our relationship with partners.

Virtual Event Agenda

  • Introduction to Nate Denny, the new Deputy Secretary of Broadband and Digital Inclusion
  • NC Department of Information Technology Staff
  • First draft unveiling of the region’s digital inclusion plan from Land of Sky
  • Stacey Hughes from Dogwood Health Trust
  • Sara Nichols & Paul Moon from the Land-of-Sky Regional Council of Governments
  • More broadband leaders

We hope you can join us virtually July 29th, 2021 from 10-11:30 EST to get updates from leaders on how we CONNECT WNC. 

Register Today

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/

Categories
Advocacy Broadband access Careers Digital Inclusion Employment LinkedIn Remote Work

Remote Work for Everyone

Internet-Priviledged

Are we a divided nation when only the internet-privileged could be considered for remote work?

The infusion of technology into more industries is one factor that has led to a division of the American work force between promising jobs with good salaries and low-wage work with less possibility of advancement.

NY Times with Shira Ovide

New Hybrid of Work From Home Jobs

What Asheville jobs could have a new hybrid of some degree of working from home?

Every job has opportunity for self-improvement.

Could time be allocated for an employee to ‘upskill’ the job traits important to their industry?

LinkedIn Learning

I must confess that I do feel empowered to learn with LinkedIn Learning. It is a premium learning service that is ad-free and composed with many details including current updates and new content with over 16,000 LinkedIn Learning courses taught by credible industry experts and 60+ new courses added every week.

Also, a newer feature is to upload your organization’s own custom videos, documents, and links.

As a ‘Digital Literacy Network‘ and ‘Experienced Workforce Initiative‘ member for Buncombe County, Marc Czarnecki supports digital inclusion with tools for all.

Advocate for true high-speed internet in your community. Engage with the WNC Broadband Project and other digital inclusion content.


We Need Remote Work for Everyone. (2021). The New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/2021/07/06/technology/remote-work-for-everyone.html

LinkedIn Learning Product Overview | LinkedIn Learning Solutions. (2021). Linkedin.com; LinkedIn Learning Product Overview | LinkedIn Learning Solutions. https://learning.linkedin.com/product-overview

Categories
Broadband access Broadband in WNC Digital Equity Digital Literacy GREAT Program Jeff Sural North Carolina

Nation’s First Office of Digital Equity and Literacy

Established by NC Governor Roy Cooper

Closing the digital divide in North Carolina can only happen with collaboration from:

  • Federal
  • State
  • Regional Councils of Governments
  • Counties
  • Cities
  • Communities

The WNC Broadband Project and the Digital Literacy Network are happy to hear this announcement from Governor Roy Cooper.

“The pandemic showed us more than ever the importance of digital equity in North Carolina,” said Gov. Cooper. “Creating the Office of Digital Equity and Literacy will enable us to accelerate the critical work of bringing all North Carolinians up to speed with the digital society so they can live more equitable, prosperous, educated and healthier lives.”

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper

NC Office of Digital Equity and Literacy

The office of Digital Equity and Literacy will execute Gov. Cooper’s plan to expand digital literacy offerings and partnerships across North Carolina, as well as lead the Digital Equity and Inclusion Collaborative and promote the NC Digital Inclusion Playbook for local municipalities.

Read More

Governor Cooper Establishes Nation’s First Office of Digital Equity and Literacy | NCDIT. Nc.gov. Published 2021. Accessed July 4, 2021. https://it.nc.gov/news/press-releases/2021/07/01/governor-cooper-establishes-nations-first-office-digital-equity-and-literacy

Categories
Advocacy Broadband access Broadband in WNC Devices Digital Citizenship Education IoT Speed Video Conferencing Work From Home (WFH)

Bandwidth Growth

Requires Future Proof Fiber

What is are the projected peak bandwidth requirements for a household of 4 through 2030?

A family of 4 should ask how to they use the internet:

  • How many and when are the internet devices connected?
    • Tablets, smartphones, desktop, laptops, IoT devices (Internet of Things) like a Ring doorbell with video.
    • Live streaming events?
  • Who uses the internet at home?
    • Students
    • Work from home adults
    • Business – entrepreneurial
    • Telehealth
  • What types of applications use the internet?
    • Gamers
    • Movie streamers
    • YouTube / Vimeo
    • Video conferencing
    • Data file exchanges for employment
    • Social media

Internet Speed Test

Learn more about speed tests and periodically run a speedtest on your computer devices; especially the laptop, tablet, and smartphones.

Sample demo of an Ookla speed test, video is accelerted.
  • Cellular 4G / 5 G speed test
  • WiFi speed test at home vs at work through wired networks

Be aware of the time of day that you are running a speed test as the evening will generally see slower speeds than the rest of the day because of other that maybe on your network locally or in your internet service provider coverage area.

The WNC Broadband Leadership team is receptive to your feedback.

Contact a member of the WNC Broadband Leadership team today.

Also See

Best Practices for Speed Tests


FBA Sees $100 Billion Cost for Nationwide Fiber Broadband – Telecompetitor. (2021, June 22). Telecompetitor.com. https://www.telecompetitor.com/fba-sees-100-billion-cost-for-nationwide-fiber-broadband/

Categories
Broadband Availability Broadband in WNC Cellular Work From Home (WFH)

Work From Home

A New Normal Here to Stay?

As a previous tech worker from three Fortune 50 companies, I’ve adapted to ‘the new normal’ of having a hybrid of working from a brick and mortar location, home, and various mobile locations.

I concur with Laura Miller from the Broadband Breakfast article linked below: these are good reasons why working from home is a ‘new normal’ that is like to stay.

  1. The world has become the connected place to find resources to help with my projects or for me to work for another with broadband providing high-speed internet.
  2. Flexibility is a benefit that allow various degrees of balancing professional and personal aspirations including volunteering for the benefit of my communities.
  3. Childcare/eldercare needs.
  4. Eliminating the commute, minimizing my carbon footprint to the world. Riding the Asheville public bus can get me to many places and ride-hailing fills-in additional points of connectivity. I also feel that I am more productive with less time in a vehicle; allowing more time for the work/life balance. Fixed, mobile, cellular broadband provide the fuel to make working from home possible.
  5. Diversity / inclusion of my communities and how I can serve them.
  6. Casual dress has become a norm for me during the multitude of video conference calls. A nice collar shirt is the top half presentation on a video call with shorts or my favorite comfortable pants on the bottom.
  7. Quality broadband is coming with more fiber-connected locations. Additionally, fiber provides the necessary connectivity for cellular towers. The 5G wave will make milestones ahead of 4G.

Broadband Breakfast Staff. (2021, June 23). Laura Miller: 7 Reasons Working From Home Might Be Here to Stay. Broadbandbreakfast.com. https://broadbandbreakfast.com/2021/06/laura-miller-7-reasons-working-from-home-might-be-here-to-stay/

Categories
Affordability Broadband access Broadband as a Utility Satellite Starlink

Starlink for Rural Broadband

Starlink is a potential solution for broadband for rural America that provides low-earth orbit or LEO satellites that are connected in a sequence and are networked with a grid. The LEO network of satellites provides improved speeds when compared to traditional satellite service. New technologies including Starling promise to bring broadband speeds to remote and sparsely populated communities. Can it work in the rolling hills of Western North Carolina?

Traditional internet service providers, such as cable and telecommunications companies, have provided service to these potential customers; but due to the cost of extending the infrastructure to them, providing fiber high-speed service is not economically feasible. Copper telephone lines do not provide the future-proof speeds that are needed for our connected world. Is the sky the potential internet service for some?

Furthermore, North Carolina law has prevented city and county governments from trying to fill the internet service gap; forcing residents to find creative internet solutions that work for their community.

Highlights of Starlink

  • Researchers are testing several wireless internet technologies in remote areas of North Carolina.
  • The new services are bringing broadband to places that traditional internet vendors rejected.
  • The cost of Starlink — $499 up front plus $99 per month — could be too high for some families.

Other Starlink WNC Broadband Blog Posts

If you have Starlink service in WNC, please contact a member of our leadership team a with your personal feedback and comments about the Starlink or other low-earth satellite internet provider service.


Woolverton P. Elon Musk’s Starlink service helps wrestlers, school kids with high-speed internet at home. The Fayetteville Observer. Published June 25, 2021. Accessed June 27, 2021. https://www.fayobserver.com/story/news/2021/06/25/twitter-elon-musk-starlink-satellite-internet-service-spacex-tesla-north-carolina-matt-hardy/5091546001/

Categories
Basics Broadband access Buncombe Computer Basics Devices Digital Inclusion Digital Literacy Education Event Hotspot Internet Library

Learning Digital Skills

Digital inclusion is happening in Western North Carolina. Recently the Land-of-Sky Regional Council of Governments and NC Work initiated a new program called ‘Digital Literacy Network’ or www.DigLit.net.

The Dig Lit Network supports older worker (60+) pathways to careers in Buncombe County with technology assistance in-person, via phone, video conference, or small ‘Special Interest Groups.’

Device Tech Support

The concept is to provide tech support for the older workforce in WNC. The technology support could be for mobile devices including:

  • Laptops
  • Tablets
  • Smartphone

Type of Mentoring

  • Computer hardware
  • Software and applications
  • Hotspots
  • Privacy and security
  • Productivity

Contact Dig Lit Today

To setup an appointment and if you are a Buncombe County resident, 60+ years-old:

Email

Help@DigLit.net

Call

828-365-8299

Special topics of digital literacy groups can also be scheduled for community centers, church, or other buildings with dependable broadband.

Buncombe County Library

Tech Support Walk-In Events

Bring your smartphone, laptop, or tablet and receive one-on-one assistance:

Friday, June 25th

West Asheville Library

10:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon

2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Saturday, June 26th

Pack Memorial Library

10:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon

2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

East Asheville Public Library

10:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon

2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

WNC Broadband Project

The Western North Carolina Broadband Leadership Team continues to advocate for future-proof broadband or true high-speed internet for you and your community for education, telehealth, employment, and other economic benefits and the Digital Literacy Network will help you connect to community resources to grow your digital skills.