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Affordability Broadband funding Digital Divide Federal Efforts Low-income Access

Affordable Internet for All

Emergency Broadband Benefit

In the coronavirus relief broadband bill ‘Accessible, Affordable Internet for All Act’ individuals can receive a subsidy to help minimize the digital divide.

The bill offers a $50 monthly discount for broadband services and a one-time discount of up to $100 for a computer or tablet purchased through a participating provider (one discount per eligible household).


Learn More

Snider, M. (2021, March 11). Coronavirus relief measure could net you $50 toward your broadband bill, help erase the digital divide. USA TODAY; USA TODAY. https://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/2021/03/11/discount-broadband-internet-congress-tackles-digital-divide/6940680002/

Categories
Advocacy Broadband access Broadband funding Broadband in WNC Broadband Technology Dan Gerlach Education Federal Efforts Greg Vogt Jeff McDaris Jeff Sural Local Government Local Government North Carolina Paul de Sa Stagg Newman Walter Johnson

WNC Broadband Leadership Summit

March 2, 2021

Meet the Experts, Get Broadband Industry Updates, and Closing The Digital Divide in 2021


You’ve been asking questions- we’re paying attention. 2021 will bring a host of changes to policy, funding, technology, and more.

Join us on March 2nd for our annual broadband leadership summit as we hear from local, state, and national leaders on what those changes will bring.

We will be hearing from:

Paul de Sa- “Perspectives on the new FCC directions and Internet Policy and Funding in the Biden Administration”

Paul was part of the leadership team at the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) from 2009-12 and 2016-17, serving as Chief of its Office of Strategic Planning, with a focus on merger reviews, spectrum policy, and broadband, including work on the National Broadband Plan. He is now a senior partner with Quadra Partners consulting and a member of President Biden’s Broadband Transition Team.

Walter Johnston- “Broadband Technology in 2021”

Walter was Chief of the Electromagnetic Compatibility Division of the FCC from 2009 to Jan. 2019. He is now a senior partner with Danu consulting. He is a leading expert in new broadband technologies.

Dan Gerlach- “Foundations and funding questions”

Dan has served the public for 25 years as a budget advisor to Gov. Easley, President of the Golden Leaf Foundation, and interim Chancellor of East Carolina University. He currently is president of Dan Garlach LLC and a consultant to the Dogwood Health Trust.

Jeff Sural- “What to expect at the state level”

Jeff earned his Bachelor’s degree in Journalism from UNC-Chapel Hill and his J.D. from Western Michigan University. Since January 2015 he has been the Director of the Broadband Infrastructure Office (BIO). BIO leads the statewide initiative to expand high-speed internet access for all North Carolinians.

There will also be information from several providers in the region including Charter, Skyrunner, ERC, and French Broad Electric Co-op.

And more……

This event will be held from 10-noon with optional breakout sessions from noon-1pm.

Breakout Sessions

  • Education – led by Jeff McDaris – will hear what K-12 and colleges have done to meet the pandemic and respond to the digital divide. Barry Pace of Buncombe Schools will provide an update on their experience.
  • New Technologies – led by Stagg Newman and Walter Johnston will continue the conversation about 5G expansion, satellite services, and the future.
  • State & Local Funding for Broadband – led by Jeff Sural and foundation partners – will look at the potential for state and local funding for broadband.
  • Federal Policy Changes – Greg Vogt and Paul de Sa will continue the conversation about what the Biden administration and Democratic control of Congress means for broadband improvements and regulations.

Register for this virtual event today! Spaces are limited.

Date: March 2nd
Presentations: 10-12
Breakout sessions: 12-1
Cost: Free

Zoom Registration Link

For questions related to this event reach out to


Does your organization have a digital inclusion activity it offers?

We want to know!

2020 escalated the conversation around digital inclusion and we want to make sure we know what’s going on across WNC. Please let us know who you are and what your organization is doing by completing this brief survey. We will present an update to this project at the March 2nd Summit. 

Digital Inclusion Survey Link

Categories
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.

Speakers

  • 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.

https://youtu.be/mml2kgBprw8

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.

Categories
Broadband access Broadband Technology Digital Divide Education Federal Efforts

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.

Categories
Broadband Technology Federal Efforts

Community Networks Broadband Bits Podcast: “Why Wi-Fi is Polite and Where It’s Going Next” (Episode 410)

In this podcast, Heather “Mo” Williams, Manager of Solutions Engineering at Ruckus Networks, discusses the history and fundamentals of Wi-Fi, as well as our overly optimistic hopes for 5G technology and the FCC’s wireless policies. To hear this podcast, visit the Community Networks Broadband Bits Podcast.

Categories
Broadband access Digital Divide Federal Efforts Rural

US House Energy and Commerce Committee Announces Legislation to Expand Broadband Access

The US House Energy and Commerce Committee has announced plans to adopt legislation that would invest $80 billion over five years to expand high-speed broadband infrastructure nationwide, to ensure internet affordability, and to enhance digital technology adoption. The House Democratic Plan to Connect All Americans to Affordable Broadband Internet is led by Congressman Frank Pallone Jr (D-NJ), Chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee, and Congressman James E. Clyburn (D-SC), House Majority Whip and Chairman of the House Democratic Rural Broadband Task Force. To learn more about this important legislation, visit the US House Energy and Commerce Committee website.

Categories
Broadband access Digital Divide Federal Efforts

Director of NC DIT’s Broadband Infrastructure Office Testifies to Congress about Broadband Access

Jeff Sural, the Director of the NC Department of Information Technology’s Broadband Infrastructure Office, testified before Congress in Februrary on efforts across the state to address digital inclusion and affordability. The hearing on “Empowering and Connecting Communities through Digital Equity and Internet Adoption” explored the barriers to broadband access and internet adoption. To view the hearing, visit this US House Committee on Energy and Commerce Livestream recording.

Categories
Broadband access Digital Divide Federal Efforts

“Dig Once”: An Idea Whose Time Has Come

As we have observed and posted several times on our blog, one of the most common barriers to expanded and improved broadband access is the high cost of putting in the necessary infrastructure, particularly in regions of the country where the population density is low and the terrain is rough. A federal “dig once” policy–which would allow construction workers to install fiber conduits whenever they are working on federally funded highway, road, and sidewalk projects–would substantively lower the cost of infrastructure build out and would, at the same time, remove a significant barrier for smaller internet service provides, thereby increasing competition in the broadband market. A March 2017 article in Ars Technica explores the history and benefits of a federal dig-once policy. To learn more, visit Ars Technica.

Categories
Broadband access Digital Divide Federal Efforts

North Carolina joins the NTIA State Broadband Leaders Network

North Carolina, along with five other new state members, has joined the National Telecommunication and Information Agency’s State Broadband Leaders Network. The goal of this group is to gather data from state leadership about about broadband challenges and efforts, to create information tools and to shape discussions about the promotion of broadband at the state level. To learn more, please visit BroadbandUSA.