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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?

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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

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Broadband access Broadband in WNC Community Development Devices Digital Divide Digital Inclusion

Bridging the Digital Divide

IEI BAND-NC Broadband Initiative

First in Digital Inclusion

While Western North Carolina continues to strive for opportunities to maximize our broadband growth, the Institute for Emerging Issues (IEI), BAND-NC, and NC Broadband Infrastructure Office have a goal of increasing the number of North Carolinians with internet in their homes, making NC “first in digital inclusion.”

Community Challenges

The program outlined four challenges communities have in including all families in broadband services:

  1. Access—getting broadband into homes
  2. Subscriptions—helping families afford broadband services. In all, just 59% of North Carolina families subscribe to broadband services
  3. Devices—ensuring that children and adults have the equipment they need to take classes, work from home, or access health care
  4. Technical Assistance—assisting families in learning how to effectively use high-speed access

BAND-NC asks communities to develop solutions that address each of these issues. Data from the NC Broadband Infrastructure Office shows wide disparities in adoption of broadband services, with both a rural-urban and an income divide. The ultimate goal of the program is to make North Carolina the first state in the nation where every county has a digital inclusion plan in place.

Join the WNC Broadband Initiative in making Western North Carolina more ‘digitally inclusive.’


Corning Optical Communications joins IEI BAND-NC broadband initiative to bridge digital divide. (2021, January 22). Institute for Emerging Issues. https://iei.ncsu.edu/2021/corning-optical-communications-joins-iei-band-nc-broadband-initiative-to-bridge-digital-divide/

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Broadband access Broadband in WNC Community Development Digital Divide Economic Development Fixed Wireless Broadband Starlink

Fast Company

FC Is Talking About WNC

Yes Fast Company is talking about Western North Carolina.

What is the Fast Company? They are a leading business media brand, with an editorial focus on innovation in technology, leadership, world changing ideas, creativity, and design.

And Western North Carolina, is rural America; attractive for technology, leadership, changing ideas, creativity, and design.

But, WNC lacks a dependable and fast internet infrastructure for the future for everybody.

WNC – Lifestyle

If broadband can be increased in rural areas, it would have a dramatic impact, both for people currently living in those areas and for people who are looking to shift their lifestyle away from the cities or the suburbs and move to a more rural location.

Brie Reynolds, the Senior Career Specialist at FlexJobs

WNC – More Living Space at a Lower Cost of Living

Two-thirds of remote workers are interested in moving out of the city in order to enjoy more living space and a lower cost of living. However, 67% indicate that internet availability affects their decision, and 36% said a lack of access to broadband internet is preventing them from making the move.

Study by SatelliteInternet.com

More About Our Nation’s $80 Billion Problem

https://www.fastcompany.com/90578964/rural-internet-broadband-access

Help the WNC Broadband Project advocate for a brighter future.

Contact a member of the project team today.

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Broadband access Broadband in WNC Co-Ops Community Development Economic Development FTTP Madison

Rural Electric and Telephone Co-Ops

“Cooperatives Meet the Needs of People They Serve”

Laying fiber optic cable underground is expensive. Additionally, fiber networks are needed to support community networks. What is a potential solution towards getting fiber to the premise?

In Madison County, the French Broad River Electric Membership Corporation starting implementing fiber internet service for future needs.

FBEMC will provide Fiber To The Premise (FTTP) of:

  • 4056 people
  • 189 farms
  • 64 businesses
  • 2 fire stations

Also See

https://www.frenchbroademc.com/fiber/

https://www.citizen-times.com/story/news/madison/2020/07/31/federal-grant-key-internet-expansion-madison-county/5556412002/

http://broadbandbreakfast.com/2020/10/national-rural-education-association-advocates-for-universal-home-broadband-access-to-assist-rural-students/

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Broadband access Broadband funding Broadband in WNC Community Development Economic Development Education Policy

Call-To-Action

WNC Broadband Activism

Western North Carolina has a ‘Call-To-Action’ from our recently published ‘2021 Broadband Policy Priorities.’

Your WNC Broadband Project team continues to be engaged in community, city, WNC county, and regional broadband topics. Our activism needs your support. How?

The Covid-19 pandemic has demonstrated and continues to demonstrate the critical need for universally available and affordable high-speed broadband internet access for delivering quality remote education, telemedicine, and work-from-home capability.

Policy makers must lead an initiative to solve the WNC “digital divide” between the wealthy and the under-resourced and between our urban and non-urban residents.

Given the importance of broadband and the growing digital divide in our region, policy makers must create enabling legislation and policy that will ensure universally available and affordable broadband now.

Your Broadband CTA

A broadband policy maker is someone who sets the plan pursued by a government or business.

For broadband topics, your Call-To-Action or CTA is to communicate and follow-up with your network of policy makers including:

  • Government Officials in the City, County, Region, or State
  • Community Leaders in Education, Economic Development, Healthcare Professionals
  • Business Leaders

All policy makers need to effectively create plans. The acceptance of a plan is based on the feasibility including the financial and legal considerations.

What are the broadband issues that should be on a policy-maker’s radar?

Top 5 WNC Broadband Issues

The WNC Broadband Project Leadership team has summarized the top five WNC broadband issues.

Learn more at our 2021 Broadband Policy site.

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A-B Tech Community Development Digital Inclusion Economic Development Education People Philip Cooper

Philip Cooper the Xennial

‘Change Agent’ Philip Cooper calls himself a Xennial; a mix between millennial and a GenX. How does a Xennial use broadband? This series discusses topics around Philip Cooper, a native Western North Carolinian from Rutherford County and broadband.

Philip talks about Maslow’s hierarchy of shelter and and food. How does digital inclusion and digital equity fit here? More focused, what about our criminal justice system and the prisoner re-entry program of a community workforce development plan.

A Gateway computer was Philips introduction to technology as a Xennial. He is a socialite with computers.

#AppalachiaStrong Philip Cooper, a Xennial
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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

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Asheville Community Development Digital Divide Digital Equity Digital Inclusion

Virtual and Broadband

Today many tools are available hold ‘virtual events.’ Google Meet, Zoom, WebEx and others provide software for anybody to broadcast their virtual event.

The Asheville Chamber of Commerce’s WNC Career Expo – Virtual Job Fair was held Wednesday, October 14th through Friday, October 16th with dozens of employers and hundreds of job seekers. The virtual ‘Main Floor’ job fair was divided into employers with job opportunities and ‘Employment and Training’ representation; including Asheville 50+ Works. With this virtual online-event, those that have high-speed internet or broadband; job seeking is enabled virtually.

Businesses, individuals, and community groups can post broadband-heavy content including:

  • Company Profile
  • Videos
  • Downloads
  • Links
  • Social networks
  • Banners
  • Posters
  • Webcasts
Easy Virtual Fair screenshot
Easy Virtual Fair – Asheville Chamber of Commerce’s virtual job fair software

As part of Asheville 50+ Works (the Experienced Workforce Initative of WNC) hosted a couple of virtual webcasts, including a ‘Google Tools for Job Search Productivity – the more you know Google, the better you get.’

Video recording of Marc’s virtual webcast held during the WNC Career Expo.

Businesses, communities, educational institutions, non-profits, individuals, entrepreneurs, and more depend on the internet to have an online presence. Broadband is the high speed internet framework.

Content needs to be deployed and consumed. Both require growing appetites for broadband; especially has 4K+ video resolution becomes more prevalent .

Is WNC ready for the growing economic need for broadband?

Advocate for fiber, a timeless investment for our future. Fiber optics are the foundation for our terrestrial and wireless WNC future.

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.