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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
Asheville Broadband in WNC IoT Municipalities Smart City Wireless

A Smarter Asheville

Internet of Things (IoT)

In a world of wireless sensors that allow the connection of our physical and digital worlds; how does or how could a Asheville effectively be a smarter IoT city? A couple of key ingredients include broadband and sensors. What are or what could be the WNC applications of these IoT sensors?

Wine Quality Enhancing at Biltmore Vineyards

With the very large Biltmore Vineyards, could sensors monitor soil moisture and trunk diameter to control the amount of sugar in grapes and grapevine health?

Water Management

If the French Broad River had IoT sensors that monitor agriculture, farming, industry, services; to detect leakages, tracking pressure and volume variations along pipes, and checking water quality for river sports.

Smart Parking

Asheville App - Where's Parking
Asheville App > Where’s Parking, Photo by Marc Czarnecki
Wall Street
Parking Meet on Wall Street, Asheville, NC – photo by Marc Czarnecki

Tourist and downtown shoppers are privileged to have wireless payments benefits for parking in Downtown Asheville. Analytics of parking space data is also managed by the City of Asheville’s App.

With parking meters, users have the option for either a debit or credit card and the use of the Passport app for parking payments and automated reminders.

Air Quality Stations

Clean air is critical for our citizens and tourists. Capturing data, benchmarking, and reporting this data to control pollution is critical for our health and well-being. Asheville is a climatic data center and no doubt, data is likely acquired through IoT type of devices.

Smart Retail Stores

Amazon Locker - Whole Foods Merrimon Ave, Asheville, NC
Amazon Locker – Merrimon Avenue Whole Foods, Photo by Marc Czarnecki

Two Whole Foods grocery stores in Asheville already have Amazon Lockers that provides IoT mechanisms to deliver small products.


References

50 Sensor Applications for a Smarter World – Libelium. (2020, September 9). Libelium. https://www.libelium.com/libeliumworld/top_50_iot_sensor_applications_ranking/

“Smart” parking meters to be installed throughout downtown Asheville | The City of Asheville. (2018, January 29). The City of Asheville. https://www.ashevillenc.gov/news/smart-parking-meters-coming-throughout-downtown-asheville/

Categories
Broadband in WNC FIber Act Local Government Municipalities NC General Assembly

Fiber Act

2020 – the Past

Legislation on the FIBER NC Act, did not pass legislation largely based on opposition by the larger incumbent telecommunications internet service providers.

What is the FIBER NC Act?

In 2020, the FIBER (Foster Infrastructure for Broadband Expansion and Resources) NC Act (HB 431) was up for vote in the NC legislature; but did not get passed.

It would have eliminated existing state restrictions and increase the authority of local governments to build out broadband infrastructure and lease the fiber to internet service providers (ISP).

It would apply to counties with 4.7 percent or less of households without broadband service (determined by the Federal Communications Commission) or that is home to a major military installation–roughly 70% of counties in the state.

Institute for Emerging Issues

Local Municipalities

How can local municipalities improve high-speed internet? Paul Meyer indicates:

the North Carolina General Assembly should make its first priority upon meeting in January passage of legislation that incorporates the principles of the FIBER NC Act and takes another substantial step in closing our digital divide.

Paul Meyer, Executive Director of the North Carolina League of Municipalities

Meyer, P. (2021, January 3). Broadband would close NC’s digital divide; Big Telecom is blocking it. The Fayetteville Observer; The Fayetteville Observer. https://www.fayobserver.com/story/opinion/columns/guest/2021/01/03/broadband-would-close-ncs-digital-divide-big-telecom-blocking/4087297001/


The WNC Broadband Project is advocating for:

  1. High-speed internet improvements
  2. Eliminating the digital divide
  3. Encouraging economic growth through education, telemedicine, and other broadband business opportunities

Will your home and business be ready for the future needs of broadband?