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Advocacy Broadband access Broadband funding Broadband in WNC Digital Inclusion Digital Literacy House Bill Municipalities NC General Assembly Senate Bill

2021 Broadband State Legislation

North Carolina Broadband 2021 Legislation

HB 79
Passed House 2/24/21

Requires the state board of education to maintain a digital learning dashboard updated annually by public school units and requires recommendations to the joint legislative education oversight committee based on information on student digital learning access during COVID-19.

Education and Schools and Rural and Underserved

HB 196
Signed by governor 3/11/21, Chapter 3
SB 172

Makes modifications to COVID-19 relief legislation and provides additional appropriations for the expenditure of federal COVID-19 pandemic relief funds., includes student connectivity funds for complimentary internet service.

Education and Schools, Funding and Rural and Underserved

HB 289
Passed House 4/1/21

Appropriates funds to the department of information technology for the preparation of statewide broadband maps and establishes the department as the sole source of broadband mapping for state agencies.

Funding and Mapping

HB 384

Fosters infrastructure for broadband expansion and resources in North Carolina by authorizing counties and cities to install and lease broadband infrastructure to increase adequate broadband services to attract investment in local economies, provide for educational and career opportunities, modernize farming technologies, and to provide for improved health care.

Infrastructure

HB 476

Enacts the North Carolina Broadband Consumer Protection Act to provide oversight of broadband service by the North Carolina utilities commission.

Consumer Relations and Governance

SB 517

Appropriates funds to the department of information technology for the preparation of statewide broadband maps and to establish the department as the sole source of broadband mapping for state agencies; relieves regulatory burdens to expedite broadband expansion; allows for use of existing easements for broadband expansion; expands distribution of state surplus computers and computer hardware for nonprofits; allows local government leasing of existing broadband infrastructure; expands funding for G.R.E.A.T. program broadband grants; and provides stopgap internet access for classroom access, health care access, and job creation.

Education and Schools, Funding, Infrastructure, Mapping and Rural and Underserved

SB 523

Establishes the North Carolina broadband assistance program to provide funds to eligible low-income families to help make broadband access more affordable.

Rural and Underserved

SB 547

Fosters infrastructure for broadband expansion and resources in North Carolina by authorizing counties and cities to build and lease facilities and equipment of broadband services to increase adequate broadband services in rural areas of the state where the need for broadband is great due to many factors, including the COVID-19 pandemic.

Municipal and Rural and Underserved

SB 642

Appropriates funds to the technology and data institute to operate a pilot program to expand high-speed internet access to students of low-income families in central North Carolina.

Funding, High Speed and Rural and Underserved

SB 689

Facilitates the expansion of broadband service in unserved areas of the state by ensuring timely and nondiscriminatory access to municipal and electric membership cooperative utility poles, ducts, and conduits at just and reasonable rates; authorizes counties to provide grants to high-speed internet access service providers and to build facilities and equipment of a broadband service and to levy taxes for those purposes; further defines the term “city utility pole”; prohibits certain fees for the collocation of small wireless facilities; and makes related changes.

Funding, High Speed, Infrastructure, Rural and Underserved and Taxes


Broadband 2021 Legislation. (2021). Ncsl.org. https://www.ncsl.org/research/telecommunications-and-information-technology/broadband-2021-legislation.aspx

Categories
Asheville Broadband in WNC IoT Municipalities Smart City Wireless

A Smarter Asheville

Internet of Things (IoT)

In a world of wireless sensors that allow the connection of our physical and digital worlds; how does or how could a Asheville effectively be a smarter IoT city? A couple of key ingredients include broadband and sensors. What are or what could be the WNC applications of these IoT sensors?

Wine Quality Enhancing at Biltmore Vineyards

With the very large Biltmore Vineyards, could sensors monitor soil moisture and trunk diameter to control the amount of sugar in grapes and grapevine health?

Water Management

If the French Broad River had IoT sensors that monitor agriculture, farming, industry, services; to detect leakages, tracking pressure and volume variations along pipes, and checking water quality for river sports.

Smart Parking

Asheville App - Where's Parking
Asheville App > Where’s Parking, Photo by Marc Czarnecki
Wall Street
Parking Meet on Wall Street, Asheville, NC – photo by Marc Czarnecki

Tourist and downtown shoppers are privileged to have wireless payments benefits for parking in Downtown Asheville. Analytics of parking space data is also managed by the City of Asheville’s App.

With parking meters, users have the option for either a debit or credit card and the use of the Passport app for parking payments and automated reminders.

Air Quality Stations

Clean air is critical for our citizens and tourists. Capturing data, benchmarking, and reporting this data to control pollution is critical for our health and well-being. Asheville is a climatic data center and no doubt, data is likely acquired through IoT type of devices.

Smart Retail Stores

Amazon Locker - Whole Foods Merrimon Ave, Asheville, NC
Amazon Locker – Merrimon Avenue Whole Foods, Photo by Marc Czarnecki

Two Whole Foods grocery stores in Asheville already have Amazon Lockers that provides IoT mechanisms to deliver small products.


References

50 Sensor Applications for a Smarter World – Libelium. (2020, September 9). Libelium. https://www.libelium.com/libeliumworld/top_50_iot_sensor_applications_ranking/

“Smart” parking meters to be installed throughout downtown Asheville | The City of Asheville. (2018, January 29). The City of Asheville. https://www.ashevillenc.gov/news/smart-parking-meters-coming-throughout-downtown-asheville/

Categories
Advocacy Broadband access Broadband in WNC Digital Inclusion Economic Development Education FCC William Sederburg

Broadband Future in WNC

by Dr. William Sederburg

Western North Carolina Broadband Project Chair Dr. William Sederburg talks about broadband and the situation of broadband maps from the FCC and the actual situation of broadband service as detailed in his letter to the FCC.

WNC Broadband Future – Dr. Sederburg

YouTube Video Outline

00:00 – Organized through University of North Carolina Asheville
01:36 – Former FCC Officials Stagg Newman & Greg Voyt in WNC
02:21 – FCC Presentation
03:00 – WNC Broadband Project’s start
04:42 – ‘Future Proof’ Broadband
06:11 – ‘Lack of broadband infrastructure is NOT just a rural problem’
07:19 – Buncombe County Map – No Services offered in red, white areas do not have adequate broadband
08:21 – Conclusion, Federal policy changes, WNC short-changed services, WNCBP offer to help FCC with maps (see the letter below)

Because broadband is a critical need for economic growth, education, tele-health, and more; the WNC Broadband Project is here to advocate for broadband improvements for our communities.

Categories
Broadband in WNC REA - Rural Electrification Act RUS - Rural Utility Service

Roots of a Broadband Revolution

What did the implementation of electricity and the telephone do to local economies and communities?

With the telephone financial loan program roots of the Rural Electrification Act (REA) in 1946 only 39% of rural Americans had phone service and communities banded together to serve themselves.

Roots of REA and RUS

Federal infrastructure programs in the United States have a foundational element to the current broadband needs. How did the REA and RUS create roots for a broadband revolution?

Rural Electrification Act

REA provided federal loans for the installation of electrical distribution systems to serve isolated rural areas of the United States. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rural_Electrification_Act

Rural Utility Service

RUS implemented programs to provide infrastructure or infrastructure improvements to rural communities, including water and waste treatment, electric power, and telecommunications services. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rural_Utilities_Service

Creating the Architecture

Like the WNC Broadband Project with the roots of two former FCC builders, Stagg Newman and Greg Volt; community-based programs are working towards creating the architecture; to get the broadband job done!

Support the WNC Broadband Project for digital inclusion in Western North Carolina.


Thanks to @sbloomfield15 for this blog inspiration.

Categories
Asheville Basics Broadband access Buncombe Digital Literacy Free WiFi Hotspot Internet Library Low-income Access

Digital Options

Pack Library in Downtown Asheville

Located at 67 Haywood Street, the Pack Library and is the main branch in the Buncombe County Public Library System.

The first Pack Library was built and named for George Willis Pack in 1911.

This newer, 56,000-square foot facility was built in 1978 and renovated in 2012.

Digital Resources

It includes digital resources including:

  • Desktop Computer Access in the building
  • Popular resources
    • NC Live a statewide library cooperative, supporting 200+ public and academic libraries across North Carolina
    • NC Digital Library powered by OverDrive and Kindle software
    • Story Line and BiblioBoard hybrid software dedicated to keeping libraries at the forefront of their communities in an increasingly digital age. BiblioLabs offers patrons unlimited, multi-user access through BiblioBoard, the PatronsFirst® digital library, and provides tools that empower libraries to thrive as influential centers for creative community engagement.
    • Tax Help
  • WiFi for your own smartphone, tablet, or laptop
  • Online events by age and by type
  • Printing & Copying

What is your favorite digital resource at Buncombe County libraries; and why?


Libraries – Pack Memorial. Buncombecounty.org. https://www.buncombecounty.org/governing/depts/library/branch-locations/pack-memorial.aspx

Categories
Buncombe Digital Divide Hotspot Laptop Library

Buncombe Library Laptop or Hotspot Loan

With a Buncombe County library card in good standing, a laptop and/or a hot spot can now be checked-out thanks to grant funding from the State Library of North Carolina through the CARES Act, Museum and Library Services (IMLS) under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA).

Call ‘Ask-a-Librarian’

Call the Ask-a-Librarian line at (828) 250-4700 to request a device. There is no charge for the service but charges may be incurred for late returns or losses.

Read More Details About Laptop or Hot Spot Checkout

More details are linked in the articles below.

Barrows, K. (2021, April 18). Buncombe Co. libraries launch laptop loan program in an effort to “bridge digital divide.” WLOS; WLOS. https://wlos.com/news/local/buncombe-co-libraries-launch-laptop-loan-program-in-an-effort-to-bridge-digital-divide

Barrows, K. (2021, April 18). Buncombe Co. libraries launch laptop loan program in an effort to “bridge digital divide.” WLOS; WLOS. https://wlos.com/news/local/buncombe-co-libraries-launch-laptop-loan-program-in-an-effort-to-bridge-digital-divide


WiFi Lot Maps‌

WiFi parking lots are also available.

Categories
4k Asheville Download Fiber Gaming Latency Television

Download Speed for Gaming

TV Display Might Not Get 4k Resolution

Epic Games of NC – Featured Games to Download, Play

Broadband or high speed internet provides many opportunities:

  • Telehealth
  • Employment
  • Education
  • Entertainment

But what if your community does not get broadband or internet speeds for the future? 25 Mbps down and 3 Mbps up would likely not be sufficient for 4k resolution large television monitors and definitely not enough speed for 8k resolution monitors.

The featured screen-shot (above) informed me that in my work location, my download speeds would likely not be sufficient for gaming on Google’s new Stadia platform at 4K resolution.

Let’s take this concept to the future.

Lost Broadband Opportunity

So if your broadband speeds are not fast enough for 4k resolution and current monitors?

What about the necessary internet speeds for other high speed internet benefits?

If you worked for a branch of North Carolina’s Epic Games, a huge global gaming platform; you’d likely not consider coming to Asheville or Western North Carolina to work remotely if very high speed internet is necessary for employment and entertainment.

Fiber is the Future

To future-proof our investments in broadband networks; DSL, cable, satellite, and sometimes wireless broadband services may likely not provide the gigabit speeds needed for our future. Fiber to the home or business is the future-proof investment needed for WNC!

Categories
ARC Broadband funding ERC Broadband Haywood County Skyrunner

Haywood County Broadband Expansion Efforts

The Education and Research Consortium of the Western Carolinas, Inc (“ERC”, also known as “ERC Broadband”) is proud to announce it has selected Skyrunner as the awardee of its Request for Proposal (“RFP”) to expand broadband in the Fines Creek and Crabtree communities in Haywood County. This award is pursuant to funding received by the Appalachian Regional Commission (“ARC”).

ERC Press Release, April 15, 2021

View the full PDF press-release with this link

View area on Google Maps

Thanks to the Southwestern Commission Regional Council of Governments, Region A; for sharing this emailed content.

Categories
Broadband access Broadband in WNC Community Development Digital Divide Digital Inclusion Economic Development Education Gigabit NTCA Real Estate Shirley Bloomfield

WFH

Working From Home

How will the COVID-19 epidemic change the relationship from working in an office to working from home (WFH)?

How will WFH alter Asheville?

If 1/3 of Americans work from home, it changes transportation planning in a huge way.

Road Guy Rob

Transportation

In Buncombe County, we know the bottlenecks and high capacity of traffic on I-240, I-40, and I-26 as major interstates connect and bring-in or out employees. If work from home become permanent, the commuting demand shifts from vehicular traffic to broadband traffic.

Office Space

Yes, essential worker in hospitality, grocery stores, and other service industries in WNC will see needed transportation continue; but should an organization spend an enormous amount of money at their headquarter office to seat employees that cost $2.00 or more a square foot per month?

Land Use

How does the shift of working in an office to WFH effect home costs? Anyplace that has healthy broadband could become the new employment location. You don’t have to commute to work and there will be a ‘flight’ to smaller communities. Available land in the outskirts of WNC will become attractive home and workplaces.

Prerequisite

In the future there will be unprecedented availability of gigabit broadband which is available through fiber networks.

Urban cities can have 130 subscribers per mile. Rural communities can have 6-7 subscribers per mile. Fiber doesn’t get any cheaper based on where you are putting it in the ground. Yet in rural America it is even more important to bridge the digital divides.

Shirley Bloomfield, NTCA – The Rural Broadband Association CEO (Human Resource office in Biltmore Park)

The Big Picture

America and WNC is returning to a decentralized economy. The world economy is replacing the suburb commutes with the internet at the speed of light. Communtable work distances in WNC is limitless. Additionally, our carbon footprint will be reduced. Political and socioeconomic landscapes will change. What will be the role of mass transportation in WNC?

Categories
Advocacy Broadband access Broadband as a Utility Broadband in WNC Community Development Digital Divide Digital Equity Economic Development

Bridging A Digital Divide

High speed internet should be available to everybody in Western North Carolina.

It is critical to economic opportunity, job creation, education, telehealth, and civic engagement.

Broadband Call-To-Action

Your call-to-action should be:

  1. Advocate for the timeless investment of fiber to replace copper and cable. It is likely the power company owns your neighborhood telephone poles and a right-of way is needed.
  2. Steward the Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB) program to your network. A Federal Subsidy of up to $50 per month is available. Additionally, a one time $100 per household for hardware.
  3. Provide the NC Broadband Office with information about the lack of dependable broadband at your location or a friend or neighbor.

Bridging The Digital Divide For All Americans. Federal Communications Commission. https://www.fcc.gov/about-fcc/fcc-initiatives/bridging-digital-divide-all-americans