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:
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
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 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.
Digital inclusion week continues with an interview with Reverend Louis Grant. Reverend Grant has been in the radio broadcast business for over 50 years including FM 106.9 the Light and Dr. Billy Graham’s Blue Ridge Broadcasting Company. Additionally, he mentions his personal angst when the radio broadcast world shifted from analog to digital. With this change also came the ability to broadcast content to an even larger global audience with the internet, a win for leveraging digital communication.
“We’ve been slow to get the word of the Lord out” [ on digital media ]
Reverend Louis Grant
Now Rev Grant provides video conference chapel services to local communities, leveraging high-speed internet.
The internet: “So much of the world that we did not know was out there. It’s mind-blowing. It opens more doors.”
Reverend Louis Grant
This week is Digital Inclusion Week and DIW aims to raise awareness of solutions addressing home internet access, personal devices, and local technology training and support programs. DIW2020 is sponsored by the National Digital Inclusion Alliance representing more than 450 affiliated organizations in 44 states working toward digital equity.
Western North Carolina Broadband Project appreciates Rev Louis Grant’s expanded knowledge and stewardship of the internet to leverage digital inclusion of content and communication in his communities.
The urban/rural divide is in Western North Carolina. For high speed or broadband application including video conferencing while traveling; you will need to plan and test your internet. There are many parts of WNC that do not have terrestrial or wireless broadband.
The adults, parents, children should not be be at a disadvantage because of the lack of available internet as Representative Jake Johnson discusses in the video below.
The WNC Broadband Project aims to support communities interested in ensuring access to reliable, truly high-speed internet service.
It develops tools to empower individuals, communities, and area leaders in advocating effectively for their digital needs.
As a community-supported initiative building on the work of West Next Generation Network (WestNGN), it is not owned or controlled by any affiliate of WestNGN.
The WNC Broadband Project is also not financed by any corporate entity, as such financing would be inconsistent with the Project’s independent community engagement focus.
The views, opinions and products of the WNC Broadband Project are the sole responsibility of the Project team and its advisory board, acting in their personal capacity and not in any capacity related to WestNGN, UNC Asheville, or any other WestNGN affiliate.
A panel of broadband experts, including WNC Broadband Project’s Bill Sederburg, discussed how to embark on a program – either on their own or with partners – to implement broadband infrastructure to benefit residents.
Moe Davis | Democratic Nominee 11th Congressional District
Danny Bottoms | Vision Cashiers; Public WiFi Project
Mike Hawkins | Transylvania County Board of Commissioners Chair
Hunter Goosman | ERC Executive Director/CEO
William Sederburg, Phd. | WestNGN Chair
Federal and state policy issues were discussed in the ‘Vote for Moe Davis’ YouTube video link below.
DISCLAIMER: The WNC Broadband Project, a Western North Carolina community group; is not connected with the ‘Vote for Moe Davis’ campaign. We advocate for the non-partisan expansion, education, and inclusion of high speed internet in our WNC communities.
City of Asheville IT staff is investigating possibilities to provide free broadband in Asheville and Buncombe County.
Free broadband internet would be available in public spots throughout Buncombe County under a proposal by the local government’s information technology department.
“Information Technology staff continue to work with internet providers to explore opportunities for internet connectivity throughout the County (Buncombe Broadband Workgroup) to help those who do not currently have access to high speed internet”
With COVID-19, the world of online communication has significantly changed in 2020. Communicating with technology has significantly increased with video conferencing tools like Zoom, Google Meet, Microsoft Teams, WebEx, etc..
As a further extension to video conferencing, live streaming video content is appropriate for when an individual or panel of speakers needs to broadcast information to many people during an event. Zoom, Facebook, and YouTube are some of the frequently used tools for live streaming.
Live Streaming Defined
Live streaming the internet process of holding a live event. Facebook, YouTube, Zoom, and other tools allow an individual or small group to present content through the use of a webcam and a microphone. Computer laptops and smartphones both have a built-in microphone and camera. Newer computers are needed for the RAM or Random-Access-Memory and CPU or Central Processing Unit demands. To live stream, broadband or high speed, dependable internet is also needed.
Additionally, a third party can support hosting a live streaming event with an EMCEE, online transitions, callouts, background music and more services. These services require even more broadband; including fast download, fast upload, and low-latency internet connections. Ideally, a FTTP or Fiber To The Premise broadband (home or business) is ideal.
WordCamp, a Global Event
On Saturday September 12th the local WordPress community held a live streaming event with the Word Camp community leadership. This event is traditionally held at a large venue location like AB Tech or UNCA; however, social distancing caused the leadership team to plan and implement an online solution for this 2-day event that typically sells-out with in excess of 300 attendees. Word Camp is a global event where throughout the year businesses, website developers, coders, and marketers get together at various global locations to promote WordPress website ideas, concepts, training, and more.
WordCamp Asheville or #WCAVL (# is a taxonomy symbol grouping like words or phrases for various social media channels). The 2020 theme was a county home setting with a Front, Back Porch, Kitchen and more. These virtual rooms were live stream rooms where attendees could hear a WordPress subject matter expert present various business and technical topics.
Diversity, Ethnicity, and Inclusion in Tech
In the Front Porch or ‘Track 1’ there was a discussion titled ‘Diversity in Tech’ Panel with Sarah Benoit, Aisha Adams (both from Western North Carolina), Aida Correa of Atlanta, Georgia, and Joe A. Simpson Jr. from Los Angeles, California. During this live stream event they discussed DEI or diversity, ethnicity, and inclusion in the technology world for the benefit of ages of children through older adults. Additionally, Aisha mentions how Asheville ‘still has areas without broadband access.’
About the Author of This Article
Marc Czarnecki or Web Tech Czar was an EMCEE for #WCAVL and is a community member of:
Yes, in Western North Carolina we also have an appetite for broadband. School-age kids have a real hunger for the internet. Area restaurants not only serve meals, but also WiFi for those in need of connectivity for their internet functions including school work. Surprisingly, some of the fastest broadband can be found at common eateries.
A Necessity of Life
The CNN article below cites a viral picture of two children at a Taco Bell working on their laptop. They were having to use available and free broadband to fulfill educational expectations.
Technology is so critical and we cannot view it as a luxury, it’s a necessity of life, it should be seen as a utility like water, electricity and gas.
Very similar to California, WNC students have internet connectivity needs; but likely due to finances, many have to leave home to find available life resources, including internet technology.
Because is critical for all to have available internet for education, healthcare, social, and economic development; please consider supporting your community hubs, including educational institutions through the WNC Broadband Project.
Nutrition for Our Future
The reality is: broadband provides nutrition for our future.