Broadband access Digital Divide Education Healthcare

Call for Action on Neglected Policy Proposals

NC faith leaders make a call for action on neglected policy proposals, including broadband access.

The health needs and education needs of North Carolinians are writ large by the coronavirus pandemic, forcing us to adapt on both fronts.

A major piece of this adaptation depends on the internet. Without high-speed internet, the sick cannot consult physicians and the children cannot complete school assignments.

In much the way that the Rural Electrification Act transformed our landscape from darkness to light in the mid-20th century, broadband access can transform shrinking worlds into endless horizons now in the 21st century.

The ripple effects of such an initiative will extend far beyond health and education into most sectors of the economy.

Read more at:

Consider supporting our WNC Broadband Project today. Contact a member of our leadership team.

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Broadband Reality in North Carolina

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)
  • Cable Modem
  • Fiber-Optic Cable (Fiber)
  • Wireless
  • Satellite
  • 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.

More details are at:

broadband #NCSTEMScoreCard #StrategiesThatEngageMinds #economicgrowth

Broadband access Digital Divide Education

Maine Takes on the Digital Divide and Provides Broadband Access for All Its Students

After Maine closed its schools in response to the pandemic and made the move to remote instruction, the state’s Department of Education realized that online learning could not equitably engaged by all students.  To address this challenge directly, the Maine DOE partnered with the Governor’s Office, the Department of Administrative and Financial Services, ConnectME, the business community and foundations, to ensure that that every student in the state had internet access.  To learn how Maine addressed its digital divide and leveled the playing field for thousands of students, visit WABI5

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How the Covid-19 Pandemic Will Change Our Understanding of National Security and Underscore the Need for High-Speed Broadband Expansion

In a recent article, CNN National Security Analyst Peter Bergen and Arizona State University Professor Daniel Rothenberg explore how the pandemic is rapidly becoming a “hinge event,” very much like the Great Depression or 9/11, “reshaping the world, politically, socially and economically and … revealing major structural weaknesses in American society and undermining already fraying trust in the capacity of the US government to respond effectively to core security challenges.” Covid-19 will force us to rethink our concepts of national security and to reassess what is important to our families, our communities, and our nation. Among the changes that Bergen and Rothenberg see on the horizon are increased use of telemedicine; the expansion of remote work; the redefinition of higher education and growth on online instruction; and a profound need for affordable and equitably distributed high-speed broadband. To learn more, visit CNN: Opinion.

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COVID-19 and Broadband in Western North Carolina

Members of the WNC Broadband Project recently co-authored a opinion piece, “COVID-19 and Broadband in Western North Carolina,” which was published in the paper edition of the Asheville Citizen-Times on Sunday, 12 April 2020. To read a text version of this article, click here.

Broadband access Digital Divide Education Rural

Education in the COVID Era: Online Learning, Inequality and the Digital Divide

A recent op-ed article in The New York Times (“Locked Out of the Virtual Classroom,” 27 March 2020) argues that we are facing a moment of reckoning with the growing inequality in Internet access, separating the economically advantaged–who have the digital capability and hardware to succeed academically even in quarantine–and those in rural and poor communities, who often lack even the basics for simple connectivity. The coronavirus is making clear just how closely economic inequality and the digital divide track one another. The pandemic is crystallizing for us how critical the broadband needs of under-resourced communities are, and what will be necessary to address them. To learn more, visit The New York Times.

Broadband access Digital Divide Education

Online Education in Our COVID Moment

The COVID-19 pandemic has closed K-12 schools and universities nationwide and, in response, education has gone online. But, as a recent article from The Guardian points out, as many as 22% of American households lack internet access. To learn more about what happens when students can’t connect with their teachers, and what some schools are doing to address the problem, visit The Guardian.

Broadband access Broadband in WNC Education

Coronavirus and Online Learning in WNC

Early last week, in response to COVID-19, the University of North Carolina system made the decision to extend Spring Break by a week, so that faculty could prepare to teach their courses online for at least the next two weeks, and perhaps for the remainder of the semester. Locally, at UNC Asheville, faculty, staff and administrators are working together to support their students via remote-learning strategies. On 14 March, Gov. Roy Cooper issued an executive order closing K-12 school for two weeks and with the assistance of the NC Department of Public Instruction, teachers statewide are getting ready to take their classes online in the face of considerable challenges. As an article in today’s Asheville Citizen-Times makes clear, many students in Western North Carolina still do not have internet access in the home, and if they do, their service may not have the bandwidth that digital instruction requires. To learn more about how the coronavirus is compelling the rapid shift to online learning, and the difficulties our communities will encounter, visit the Asheville Citizen-Times.