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
Affordability Assurance Wireless Communication Computer Basics Digital Equity Digital Literacy Hotspot Internet Phone Service

Smartphone

Digital Literacy

An Assurance smartphone is free for qualified individuals it comes with 10 Gigs of of monthly internet data for a laptop hotspot.

Periodically the Assurance phone tent can be found in Asheville.

Assurance Wireless Phone Tent in front of the Department of Health & Human Services Building on Asheville’s Cox Avenue (across from the bus station)

If you qualify, Assurance Wireless periodically sets-up a tent in Asheville and provides a free smartphone for life’s needed communication from friends, family, employers, and more.

  • Phone calls
  • Text messages
  • Weather forecast checks
  • Web search
  • Video content
  • Laptop hotspot
  • Telehealth

Additionally, if you are 60+ years old and you are a Buncombe County resident… and have questions or need help in using an Android or Apple smartphone for employment or careers, please contact a member of the Digital Literacy Network for assistance.

A member of our tech team will setup an appointment in-person or virtually.

Assurance Wireless Phone

Learn More About Assurance Wireless Phone
https://www.assurancewireless.com

Categories
Advocacy Affordability Broadband access Digital Equity Digital Literacy NC BIO North Carolina www.DigLit.net

Achieving Digital Equity Is Within Our Reach

Gov. Roy Cooper proposes investing $1.2 billion in federal American Rescue Plan funds in these key pillars necessary to close the digital gap:

  • Infrastructure and access
  • Affordability
  • Digital literacy. 

By investing in these key pillars, North Carolina can achieve digital equity for all.

The Digital Divide | Broadband Infrastructure Office. (2021). https://www.ncbroadband.gov/digital-divide

Digital Equity Resources

Categories
Affordability Broadband in WNC Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB)

EBB

Emergency Broadband Benefit

During the pandemic, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is helping households struggling to pay for internet with the Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB) program.

The FCC is also looking to mobilize organizations to help share important consumer information about the Emergency Broadband Benefit that will provide a discount of up to $50 per month towards broadband service for eligible households and up to $75 per month for households on Tribal lands.

Additionally, eligible households can also receive a one-time discount of up to $100 to purchase a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet from participating providers if they contribute $10-$50 toward the purchase price.

Learn More

Emergency Broadband Benefit. (2021, February 11). Federal Communications Commission.

https://www.fcc.gov/broadbandbenefit


‌The Western North Carolina Broadband Project is advocating for all households in WNC to get high speed internet.

Please help the FCC and the WNCBP mobilize organizations to support sharing consumer information about the Emergency Broadband Benefit.

Categories
Affordability Broadband funding Digital Divide Federal Efforts Low-income Access

Affordable Internet for All

Emergency Broadband Benefit

In the coronavirus relief broadband bill ‘Accessible, Affordable Internet for All Act’ individuals can receive a subsidy to help minimize the digital divide.

The bill offers a $50 monthly discount for broadband services and a one-time discount of up to $100 for a computer or tablet purchased through a participating provider (one discount per eligible household).


Learn More

Snider, M. (2021, March 11). Coronavirus relief measure could net you $50 toward your broadband bill, help erase the digital divide. USA TODAY; USA TODAY. https://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/2021/03/11/discount-broadband-internet-congress-tackles-digital-divide/6940680002/

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
Affordability Broadband in WNC FCC

Making Internet More Affordable

At the Western North Carolina Broadband Project Team, local, state, and federal advocacy is a major opportunity to improve broadband.

Improving broadband also includes making it more affordable for our growing appetite for broadband consumption.

Our Federal partners at the FCC are having an influence towards making broadband more affordable as referenced in the article below.

Morrison, S. (2021, February 3). How Biden’s FCC and Comcast are already making the internet more affordable. Vox.com; Vox. https://www.vox.com/platform/amp/recode/2021/2/3/22262847/fcc-broadband-affordability-e-rate-comcast-rosenworcel

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
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