Categories
Access Points Broadband in WNC Digital Divide Digital Inclusion WiFi

Mobilizing Digital Navigators

Closing the Digital Divide

Because the digital divide is much more significant with the more rural mountain communities of Western North Carolina, providing mobility of the following assets is needed:

  • Computers, Chromebooks
  • Tech Knowledge
  • Hotspots and/or Mobile Access Points

Having a regular event at consistent locations would be effective in implementing ideas to improve digital inclusion and minimize the digital divide.

We know schools have been successful in implementing school buses with Wi-Fi.

Why can’t mobility be provided throughout the year to strategic community locations like libraries, town centers, or churches?


Mobilizing Libraries in the Fight to Close the Digital Divide – Heartland Forward. Heartland Forward. Published July 23, 2021. Accessed August 3, 2021. https://heartlandforward.org/2021/07/23/mobilizing-libraries-in-the-fight-to-close-the-digital-divide/


Web Tech Czar, Marc Czarnecki is a Digital Navigator and contributing member to the Western North Carolina Broadband Project’s Leadership Team. I welcome resource ideas at Marc@WNCBroadbandProject.org. or by calling 828-365-8299.

More WNC Broadband Project Articles on the Digital Divide

Categories
Advocacy Broadband access Careers Digital Inclusion Employment LinkedIn Remote Work

Remote Work for Everyone

Internet-Priviledged

Are we a divided nation when only the internet-privileged could be considered for remote work?

The infusion of technology into more industries is one factor that has led to a division of the American work force between promising jobs with good salaries and low-wage work with less possibility of advancement.

NY Times with Shira Ovide

New Hybrid of Work From Home Jobs

What Asheville jobs could have a new hybrid of some degree of working from home?

Every job has opportunity for self-improvement.

Could time be allocated for an employee to ‘upskill’ the job traits important to their industry?

LinkedIn Learning

I must confess that I do feel empowered to learn with LinkedIn Learning. It is a premium learning service that is ad-free and composed with many details including current updates and new content with over 16,000 LinkedIn Learning courses taught by credible industry experts and 60+ new courses added every week.

Also, a newer feature is to upload your organization’s own custom videos, documents, and links.

As a ‘Digital Literacy Network‘ and ‘Experienced Workforce Initiative‘ member for Buncombe County, Marc Czarnecki supports digital inclusion with tools for all.

Advocate for true high-speed internet in your community. Engage with the WNC Broadband Project and other digital inclusion content.


We Need Remote Work for Everyone. (2021). The New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/2021/07/06/technology/remote-work-for-everyone.html

LinkedIn Learning Product Overview | LinkedIn Learning Solutions. (2021). Linkedin.com; LinkedIn Learning Product Overview | LinkedIn Learning Solutions. https://learning.linkedin.com/product-overview

Categories
Basics Computer Basics Digital Inclusion Digital Literacy North Carolina Teacher Standards

Digital Literacy

Digital Citizenship

Digital literacy has been defined in many different ways by many different people.

First, let’s put digital literacy in context starting with digital citizenship.

Digital Citizenship Defined

Digital citizenship can be defined as the norms of appropriate, responsible behavior with regard to technology use, including broadband or high-speed internet.

Digital Citizenship Nine Elements

  1. Digital Access: full electronic participation in society
  2. Digital Commerce: electronic buying and selling of goods or services
  3. Digital Communication: electronic exchange of information.
  4. Digital Literacy: process of teaching and learning about technology and the use of technology.
  5. Digital Etiquette: electronic standards of conduct or procedure.
  6. Digital Law: electronic responsibility for actions and deeds
  7. Digital Rights & Responsibilities: those freedoms extended to everyone in a digital world.
  8. Digital Health & Wellness: physical and psychological well-being in a digital technology world.
  9. Digital Privacy & Security: electronic precautions to guarantee safety.

Definition of Digital Literacy

Digital literacy represents a person’s ability to perform tasks effectively in a digital environment

Source: Barbara R. Jones-Kavalier and Suzanne L. Flannigan, “Connecting the Digital Dots: Literacy of the 21st Century,” Educause Quarterly 29:2 (2006)

North Carolina Digital Literacy

Standards for Teachers

The chart below shows the relationship between North Carolina Evaluation Standards and the Information & Technology Education Standards (ITES) of:

  • Sources of Information
  • Information Text
  • Technology as a Tool
  • Research Process
  • Safety & Ethics
Interconnectedness of the NC Teacher Evaluation Process and the Information & Technology Standards

The Digital Literacy Network is a start for digital inclusion in Buncombe County and Western North Carolina thanks to the Land-Of-Sky Regional Council of Governments.

Supporting Posts

Digital Citizenship Archives – WNC Broadband Project. (2020). WNC Broadband Project. https://wncbroadband.org/blog/blog/category/digital-citizenship/

Learning Digital Skills – WNC Broadband Project. (2021, June 24). WNC Broadband Project. https://wncbroadband.org/blog/blog/2021/06/24/learning-digital-skills/

Defining Digital Literacy. (2021). Rt3nc.org. http://rt3nc.org/objects/modules/diglit/1-1-DefiningDigitalLiteracy.html

Categories
Basics Broadband access Buncombe Computer Basics Devices Digital Inclusion Digital Literacy Education Event Hotspot Internet Library

Learning Digital Skills

Digital inclusion is happening in Western North Carolina. Recently the Land-of-Sky Regional Council of Governments and NC Work initiated a new program called ‘Digital Literacy Network’ or www.DigLit.net.

The Dig Lit Network supports older worker (60+) pathways to careers in Buncombe County with technology assistance in-person, via phone, video conference, or small ‘Special Interest Groups.’

Device Tech Support

The concept is to provide tech support for the older workforce in WNC. The technology support could be for mobile devices including:

  • Laptops
  • Tablets
  • Smartphone

Type of Mentoring

  • Computer hardware
  • Software and applications
  • Hotspots
  • Privacy and security
  • Productivity

Contact Dig Lit Today

To setup an appointment and if you are a Buncombe County resident, 60+ years-old:

Email

Help@DigLit.net

Call

828-365-8299

Special topics of digital literacy groups can also be scheduled for community centers, church, or other buildings with dependable broadband.

Buncombe County Library

Tech Support Walk-In Events

Bring your smartphone, laptop, or tablet and receive one-on-one assistance:

Friday, June 25th

West Asheville Library

10:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon

2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Saturday, June 26th

Pack Memorial Library

10:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon

2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

East Asheville Public Library

10:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon

2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

WNC Broadband Project

The Western North Carolina Broadband Leadership Team continues to advocate for future-proof broadband or true high-speed internet for you and your community for education, telehealth, employment, and other economic benefits and the Digital Literacy Network will help you connect to community resources to grow your digital skills.

Categories
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
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 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
Broadband access Broadband in WNC Digital Inclusion Education Jackson County Western Carolina University

Broadband & Higher Ed

Impact of COVID on Broadband for a Higher Education Institution

In the delivery of remote or hybrid instruction, as we’ve experienced over the past year, there are two key locations that need to be connected: the professor and the student. The connection is provided via broadband. With high speed connections and reliability, learning is enabled. It is absolutely critical for success.

For a university with faculty and students located in more rural areas of North Carolina and in areas underserved with respect to broadband, this can be a significant problem; and in a lot of cases there may only be one internet service provider, if even available. In fact, from a technology perspective, this was probably the number one item expressed by both faculty and students. We experienced some faculty needing to come to campus only because they had poor internet connectivity, reliability, or bandwidth at home. A significant number of students experienced the same situation and we heard instances of students driving to a nearby McDonalds to use their wireless from the parking lot to access learning management systems or Zoom sessions. Locally, some students came to campus to use the university’s outdoor WiFi. Here in the mountains, cellular is not usually an effective solution due to the terrain, and in fact for many, cellular connectivity is actually being delivered over their broadband connection; so without broadband there is no cellular coverage. Without quality broadband professors can’t teach and students are not able to learn and engage.

In addition to the faculty and students, the university runs via its staff employees. Areas include facilities, finance, purchasing, information technology, campus services, fundraising, admissions, tutoring, academic services, research, and more. These services and functions need to remain operational. Staff need to be able to access systems, payroll, remotely answer phones, meet in teams, and provide services. Working remotely, as most staff was being asked to do, requires quality broadband. Without it a person cannot do their work, provide necessary functions, or assist faculty, students, or other staff.

Just before the pandemic hit, WCU Power and Morris Broadband were very close to completing the implementation of high speed broadband service to the WCU Power service area. The service area encompasses a significant number of faculty, staff, and students that live near the university. Many have said they are so thankful that the new broadband service was in place — because it is what enabled them to successfully teach, work, and study remotely. Without it, they would have either not be able to work or would only have been able to do so being present on campus — significantly impacting university operations.


Craig Fowler, Chief Information Officer (CIO) at Western Carolina University
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
ART Bus Asheville Broadband access Digital Equity Digital Inclusion Mobile Data

ART Bus Station WiFi

As a regular City of Asheville bus rider, Marc Czarnecki is happy to see that the ART (Asheville Redefines Transit) bus station now has free public Wi-Fi. Riding the bus now really requires an individual to check the schedule frequently. There are multiple different scheduling tools available online for planning your bus trip departure time, which bus to get on, arrival time, etc.

Some of Marc’s smartphone apps to assist in effectively riding the ART bus public transportation include the following. They can now be downloaded at the bus station.


ART Website Transit Maps and Schedules

City of Asheville ART Transit Maps and Schedules

Transit Mobile App

Transitapp.com

Google Maps

Google Maps – Transit & Food – App Store

FCC Speedtest Results

When any individual travels, their time is important. Understanding how internet the ART Bus Station public Wi-Fi is listed below with a screen shot of the speedtest results using the FCC Speedtest App.

If you are in a hurry at the Asheville ART Bus Station; I would not consider the above results acceptable to quickly download apps and check bus statuses.

Charge Your Phone

The newly updated interior bus lobby does have a few plugs to charge your mobile device if needed.

Helpful WNC Broadband Links