Categories
Affordability Broadband access Broadband funding Broadband in WNC

Digital Divide, Biden

$20B Rural Broadband Infrastructure

Biden’s plan for rural America specifically references spending $20 billion in expanding rural broadband infrastructure, tripling funding for Community Connect broadband grants to expand access in rural areas, and reforming the Lifeline program, which subsidizes internet and phone services for low-income participants.

Universal Access

the Biden administration could expand universal access by subsidizing service in underserved rural and urban areas and helping those without access purchase the connections they need. He noted that this should be a high priority because people cannot apply for jobs, make online transactions, or access government services without high-speed broadband

Darrell West, VP & Director at the Brookings Institution

Nearly one-fourth of Americans who live in rural areas lack access to fixed broadband services, according to the Federal Communications Commission’s Eighth Broadband Progress report.

https://www.inc.com/amrita-khalid/biden-broadband-plan.html

The Western North Carolina Broadband Project Team advocates for high-speed internet for education, healthcare, economic growth, and more. Can your internet service become better? Let your community policy makers know.

Also See

2021 Policy Priorities

Hello President Elect Biden

Categories
Affordability Asheville Asheville Housing Authority Broadband access Broadband in WNC Community Development Digital Divide

Bridge the Digital Divide

As our communities continue to become more digitally-oriented there is a growing digital divide. As governments, businesses, physicians, schools, individuals, move to more electronic and online processes; it is expected the citizens will have internet access, computer devices, and knowledge on how to use technology.

Computer availability is usually with a smartphone with expensive cellular bills. If a home can afford home broadband, Wi-Fi becomes more readily available. For most education, business, and government online transactions a the small screen on a cellular phone is inadequate for transposing needed information; thus, a desktop or a laptop is needed with a larger keyboard, mouse navigation, and larger screen-monitor.

When the internet is available with devices to connect, users need to be skilled to effectively leverage these technology tools. But what happens when there is a bridge between those that do and don’t have internet, smartphone, and a computer? The digital divide develops and grows.

Asheville is leveraging community assets outside the physical school buildings to narrow the bridge of the Western North Carolina digital divide, initially by making Arthur R. Edington Education and Career Center a wireless hub. This hub will provide the Asheville Housing Authority’s Southside Community to potentially have wireless internet access before the end of 2020 through a local internet service provider, Skyrunner.

With the WNC Broadband Project, consider advocating today for broadband, high-speed internet for all. It is a timeless investment for our future.

WLOS Article

Asheville City Schools Article

Categories
Affordability Broadband access Broadband in WNC Buncombe Economic Development Live Streaming Relevancy

Broadband & Employment

Broadband is high speed internet that connects you to the world and the opportunities that it beholds. Economic opportunities are changing as a result of broadband.

This Wednesday, Marc Czarnecki will hold a Livestream event with the Asheville Chamber of Commerce’s WNC Career Expo. It’s virtual, so you need internet access. Plan your internet access!

WNC CAREER EXPO 

REGIONAL VIRTUAL JOB FAIR

At 9:00 a.m. Wednesday, October 14 – the Experienced Workforce Initiatives very own Web Tech Czar – Marc Czarnecki is inviting you to join his Google Livestream event on broadband and how to leverage it for your employment.

Using Broadband for Employment

Register TODAY at the Asheville Chamber of Commerce’s Virtual Job Fair and on Wednesday morning you will have access to the ‘Employment & Training Services’ >  ‘Asheville 50+ Works’ > Webcasts.

The Webcast button in ‘Asheville 50+ Works’ will contain the livestream URL for you to join.

Categories
Affordability Broadband in WNC Community Development Digital Divide Digital Equity Digital Inclusion

Digital Alliance for our Nation

Angela Siefer, Executive Director of the National Digital Inclusion Alliance (NDIA) speaks for our nation on digital opportunities. Her message provided to congress earlier this year:

  • Residential internet service in the US is expensive.
  • Analytic reporting of the cost of service throughout the nation are not available. We need the FCC to gather this data and make it publicly available.
  • In the US digital training is undervalued and underfunded.
    • 1/3 of manufacturing workers lack proficient digital skills
    • 1/2 of all construction, transportation, and storage workers lack proficient digital skills
    • No dedicated funding is available towards digital training in the US

Local governments, libraries, non-profits have been left to piece-together to needed recourses to address the basic digital skills training. Piecing together is the wrong strategy for a strong workforce.

Angela Siefer, Executive Director, National Digital Inclusion Alliance

Digital Stewardship

Our Western North Carolina communities need to continue to provide and grow:

  • Guidance to low income parents on how to connect to their children’s teachers.
  • Leadership for seniors on how to use electronic communication and telehealth.
  • Help Veterans and disadvantaged individuals with digital skills for employment.
  • Support the State of North Carolina in developing digital equity.

Digital Equity

Digital equity refers to whether people can access and effectively use the technology necessary to participate in modern society. Digital equity planning is the opportunity for the rural areas of North Carolina as Representative Jake Johnson discusses.

Support the WNC Broadband Project’s goals to advocate, educate, and engage our communities in the needed awareness of these digital opportunities.

Also See

Reverend Louis Grant talk about digital inclusion in WNC.

Kenneth Merritt discuss digital inclusion in Asheville.

Categories
Affordability Community Development Relevancy

Across North Carolina, the barriers — and solutions — to broadband internet access for students and families are multi-layered

Digital access requires more than a physical connection.

There are factors of:

  • Affordability
  • Relevancy

A multi-faceted, short-and long-term approach to eliminating the digital divide in Western North Carolina.