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:
Many thanks for Western Carolina University, Smokey Mountain News, Blue Ridge Public Radio, Mountain Xpress for hosting the NC Congressional candidate debate on September 5th with Republican Party Nominee Maidson Cawthorn, @Cawthorn2020; and Democratic Party Nominee Moe Davis, @MoeDavisforCongress on the Facebook livestream.
The FCC reports that 93% of North Carolina’s population has access to the internet at the FCC threshold speeds of 25 Mbps. Of those without access, nearly 640,000 people live in sparsely populated areas.
How is internet broadband accessed? Broadband is accessed through a number of technologies including:
Digital Subscriber Line (DSL)
Fiber-Optic Cable (Fiber)
Broadband over Powerline (BPL)
As of December 2014, only 16% of North Carolinians adopted broadband in their homes compared to the national average of 37% at the recommended speed threshold (25 Mbps download/3 Mbps upload).
At this adoption rate, North Carolina ranked 40th out of the 45 reporting states.
Over 100 regional leaders–from state, county, and city government; from area universities and colleges; and from local business communities–met at UNC Ashveille on Monday, 27 January, to discuss issues surrounding broadband infrastructure and access in Western North Carolina. To read more about the Summit, visit WLOS News 13.
Leslie Boney, the Director of the NC Institute for Emerging Issues (IEI) and organizer of ReCONNECT to Technological Opportunity, a five-city initiative to expand access to and the use of high-speed internet, tells the stories of a North Carolina farmer and businessman, both of whom have engaged this critical technology to benefit their work and strengthen their communities. Boney notes that for some, the benefits of internet access may not seem worth the cost; however, as he also observes in these two stories, new ways of putting broadband to work can often yield powerful outcomes. To read more, visit the IEI’s Director’s Log.