Asheville Asheville City Schools Digital Equity Digital Inclusion Education

Excellence with Equity

the PODS Project is Working

The need for better broadband is clear. On the Asheville City Schools homepage, the tagline is ‘Excellence with Equity.’ The Asheville Citizen Times article linked below references that kids can not function without broadband in our current COVID environment.

Positive Opportunities Develop Success, or PODS are locations throughout our Asheville City School communities that provide broadband-available and socially distanced desks for students to connect to the internet and perform school work.

Because of PODS, the pandemic, in a strange twist, has actually become a boon to Asheville’s Black and brown students, Wynn said and other organizers say.

While there are not yet numbers to quantify it, the students appear to not only be surpassing their performance during the early part of the pandemic, but during times when they were in the regular classroom, they said.

“We’ve seen some dynamic change in our students, attitudes and confidence, and we just no longer want our Black and brown students to make up this opportunity gap,” Wynn said.

Asheville Citizen Times – Joel Burgess, on the behalf of Kidada Wynn – City Schools Student Support Services Executive DIrector

What about our future for students? Broadband or high-speed internet is necessary for digital inclusion and equity. Our community needs stewards of broadband and the Western North Carolina Broadband Project Team is here to help with the associated strategies including:

  • Federal, State, Regional, and Local Broadband Priorities
  • Funding & Foundation Leadership
  • Policy Recommendations
  • Education & Healthcare

We can make a digital WNC that is inclusive.

Please consider supporting the WNC Broadband Project objectives. Our 2021 Policy Priorities will be released soon.

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

Broadband access Broadband in WNC Community Development Digital Divide Digital Equity Digital Inclusion Economic Development Education

Digital Inclusion Week

October 5th Starts DIW

Digital equity refers to whether people can access and effectively use the technology necessary to participate in modern society.

Starting Monday, October 5th; the WNC Broadband Project Team starts contributing to an international event – Digital Inclusion Week or DIW.

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.

Call To Action: Show Your Support

Take our CTA or Call-To-Action and email to share your stories of how, when, where, and why digital inclusion is important to you and your WNC community.

Even better, please let us know if you would engage this topic with us on:

  • Facebook Live
  • Google Meet
  • Instagram
  • Pinterest
  • YouTube Live
  • Zoom
  • Or your preference of a digital inclusion toolset

#digitalequityNOW #digitalinclusion #DIW2020

Broadband in WNC Economic Development Education Telehealth

Disparity in Learning, Telehealth, Economic Development

Broadband is necessary for education, telehealth, economic development.

Representative Jake Johnson relates disparity in education and telehealth to the lack of broadband in this video.

Lack of access to the internet is educational disparity


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.

Broadband access Buncombe Education

Stories of Buncombe Internet

Buncombe County stories of the lack of reliable internet:

  • Pamela Smith’s household – not enough bandwidth for her four high-school-age daughters
  • Amanda Anderson’s household – satellite internet that proved insufficient for online learning for sons age 11 and 14

Barry Pace, director of technology for Buncombe County Schools, said teachers are helping families who have ongoing access issues by giving students hands-on learning kits, thumb drives loaded with assignments and alternative assignments as needed.

All public school students in Buncombe County receive an iPad or a Windows laptop, depending on their grade level, so the key issue is proximity to reliable internet.

But for students who are not in range of a cell tower or whose families can’t afford home internet, there is no quick fix.

#digitalinclusion #digitaleducation #digitaldivide #buncombe

Broadband access Broadband funding Broadband in WNC Community Development Digital Divide Economic Development Education Federal Efforts Rural

A Conversation on Rural Broadband Internet

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.

Broadband access Broadband in WNC Community Development Economic Development Education

Broadband Vision – NC Congressional Candidate Debate

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.

Yes, #broadband needs to be an essential utility for all.

Broadband access Digital Divide Education

School WiFi at Fast Food Restaurants

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.

Broadband access Community Development Digital Divide Education

PODS – Positive Opportunities Develop Success

Asheville City Schools has planned the implementation of PODS or ‘Positive Opportunities Develop Success’ including making WiFi available.

Opportunities in a digital-divide educational environment are challenging and communities need to advocate for creative broadband solutions.

WLOS PODS article

Asheville City Schools – PODS webpage

The Western North Carolina Broadband Project captains the development of broadband advocacy, education, initiatives, mapping, outreach, funding, and policies for high speed internet.

Broadband access Broadband in WNC Digital Divide Education

the ‘Homework Gap’ Video Will Shock You

70% of teachers assign homework that requires access to the internet.

Yet, 5 million families with school aged children do not have access to high speed internet at home.

the ‘Homework Gap’ is here

Support the Western North Carolina Broadband Project to improve the homework gap by contacting a member of the WNCBP Leadership Team.

#digitalinclusion #digitaldivide #digitalliteracy