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Advocacy Broadband access Broadband in WNC Digital Divide Digital Inclusion Digital Inequality Economic Development Education

Homework Gap

Now a Learning Gap In Rural America

I am already shocked. As a father of two digitally-connected children, I know first hand of the significant value of having broadband available. The digital value is having computers available, the knowledge of how to apply computers, with broadband being available on demand, to engage with society for knowledge, communication, health, and more.

Additionally, having volunteered at several area schools and community centers, I see the digital divide. If students don’t have broadband available at home, immediately the student is disconnected from our digital world of learning opportunities.

The pandemic has made getting computers and internet connections to households with school-age children a priority. The “homework gap” is sizable. Before the pandemic, some 16.9 million children under the age of 18 lived in households without wireline internet service and 7.3 million live in homes without a desktop, laptop, or tablet computer. What was a homework gap is now a learning gap.

John B. Horrigan

Digital Tools & Learning. (2020, December 10). Benton Foundation. https://www.benton.org/blog/digital-tools-learning

Also See


The author of this article, Marc Czarnecki; helps to minimize the rural divide in America by supporting the WNC Broadband Project.

The WNC Broadband Team advocates for the necessary broadband improvements for our #digitallives.

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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 funding Broadband in WNC Broadband Technology Digital Divide Digital Equity Digital Inclusion Economic Development Education Policy Telehealth YouTube

Broadband, Biden

Broadband Breakfast Live

The election is behind us. What does the future of broadband have in the future with the Biden Administration?

Listen to the discussion on broadband and the FCC policy future:

  • Drew Clark – Telecom Attorney, The CommLaw Group; Editor and Publisher, Broadband Breakfast, Washington DC-Baltimore Area
  • Scott Wallsten – President and Senior Fellow at Technology Policy Institute, Washington, District of Columbia
  • Mark Jamison, Ph.D. – Research & Education Director, Gainesville, Florida
Broadband Breakfast Live Online on Wednesday, November 11: Broadband and the Joe Biden President-Elect Administration
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Digital Divide Digital Inclusion Economic Development Philip Cooper

Economic Development

‘That’s what you call digital inclusion baby’

A simple laptop with broadband connectivity provides economic development opportunities for employment, businesses, and nonprofits. Philip Cooper talks about his business, ‘Hire Powered Staffing’ and it’s future evolution to ‘Hired Power WNC.’

But those that are socially and economically disconnected from opportunities, there is no digital inclusion. For entrepreneurs like Philip, no office is needed. A computer, smartphone, and internet access are Philip’s office.

Philip also introduces Amanda Jo Murphy, Executive Director and her program at Reconnecting – https://www.facebook.com/reconnectingreentry – Laptops for Reentry, a non profit that she started – https://www.reconnectingreentry.com/ ,

To help with digital inclusion, please consider donating laptops for Zoom meetings, job search, soft skills training through Goodwill, and NC Works.

Philip Cooper talks about how laptops and internet connectivity provide economic development opportunties.

#ApplachiaStrong

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Asheville Broadband access Digital Divide Education Philip Cooper Rural

Broadband Privileged

Broadband can easily be assumed as a given for those that live in the City of Asheville, but as an individual is further in the countryside of Western North Carolina and in the Appalachian Region, high speed internet may not be available.

Philip Cooper talks about his collaboration with the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) and how is he privileged to have high speed internet available.

Learn More About Philip Cooper

#appalachiastrong

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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.

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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
Digital Divide Digital Equity Digital Inclusion Education

Video Communication

WNC Church Messages

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
Reverend Louis Grant talks about ‘getting the word out, getting Jesus’s name out’ with the online communication channels.

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.

#digitalequityNOW #digitalinclusion #DIW2020 #digitaleducation