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Broadband in WNC NC BIO Remote Work Students

Remote Learning & Working Resources

Students and parents have resources available from the NC Department of Broadband Infrastructure Office.

These resources are for the parents and students who are learning and working remotely from home and do not have access to reliable or affordable internet coverage.

Remote Learning & Working Resources

  • Public schools
  • Public libraries
  • Technical Assistance
  • Broadband survey and speed test
  • Free public Wi-Fi
  • Drive-up Wi-Fi on buses

Visit https://www.ncbroadband.gov/assistance/remote-learning-working-resources to get more details.

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Broadband funding Broadband in WNC Dogwood Trust Grant Money GREAT Program NC BIO NCDIT WESTNGN

WNC Broadband ‘Update Table’

Five years ago, advocates convened to prepare a request for negotiations and the WestNGN entity was formed. In 2019 the WNC Broadband Project in conjunction with the University of North Carolina at Asheville was incepted.

Flash forward to 2022, a Western North Carolina ‘Update Table’ is shared with the community below.

  • WNC Broadband Project Chair: Dr. William Sederburg
  • Dogwood Health Trust VP of Impact – Economic Opportunity: Sarah Thompson
  • Sara Nichols, Regional Planner at Land-of-Sky Regional Council
  • N.C. Department of Information Technology (NCDIT) guests:
    • Angie Baily, Director of the Broadband Infrastructure Office within the Division of Broadband and Digital Equity
    • George Collier, NCLM Economic and Community Development Specialist
    • Ben Shelton, Project Manager at North Carolina Center for Geographic Information and Analysis
  • and more…
Land of Sky WestNGN Broadband Q&A with NC Department of Information Technology

Help us advocate for reliable and fast internet in Western North Carolina.

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Broadband in WNC GREAT Program NC BIO Rural

Application Window Open for $350M to Expand Internet Access in Rural NC

$350M GREAT Grant Round Opened

Gov. Roy Cooper announced on January 31st that applications for the latest round of GREAT Grants can be submitted through April 4 for up to $350 million of federal American Rescue Plan Act funding.

  • Awards can be made within eligible economically-distressed counties in areas unserved with broadband at speeds of 25 Mbps download and 3 Mbps upload.
  • Project deployments must provide minimum speeds of 100 Mbps download and 20 Mbps upload, scalable to 100 Mbps symmetrical.
  • The program encourages partnerships with counties, nonprofits or other internet service providers.
  • Grants require matching investments from private broadband provider grantees, leveraging funding to deploy infrastructure to N.C. households, businesses and farms in the most rural and remote areas of the state.

Qualified internet service providers and electric membership cooperatives providing internet service can now apply for up to $350 million in grants to expand broadband infrastructure in North Carolina and get more people connected to high-speed internet. Funds from the federal American Rescue Plan are being used to provide the largest ever round of Growing Rural Economies with Access to Technology (GREAT) Grants available in North Carolina.

“High-speed internet is critical for North Carolinians to be able to work, learn, run a business or access healthcare,” Governor Roy Cooper said. “We want all communities in our state to have these opportunities and this round of grants is an important step toward closing the digital divide, especially in rural areas.”

The grants are part of Governor Cooper’s plan to give 95% of North Carolina households access to broadband of 100/20 Mbps by expanding access and addressing issues of affordability and digital literacy.

Applications for the spring 2022 award period will be accepted through April 4. An information session for applicants will be held Feb. 10. Additional details can be found at www.ncbroadband.gov/grants/great-grant-federal/.

Administered by the N.C. Department of Information Technology’s (NCDIT) Division of Broadband and Digital Equity, the GREAT Grant program provides matching grants to broadband providers and electric membership cooperatives that compete for funding to expand access to high-speed internet service to unserved areas of all counties across the state.

“Since the GREAT Grant program launched in 2018, the state has invested nearly $56 million matched by more than $35 million from private investors to connect more than 40,000 households and businesses to broadband,” said NCDIT Secretary and State Chief Information Officer James Weaver. “We look forward to expanding those partnerships to extend high-speed internet access to more households in unserved areas.”

For more information about the NCDIT Division of Broadband and Digital Equity and the GREAT Grant program, please visit www.ncbroadband.gov.



Application Window Open for $350M to Expand Internet Access in Rural N.C. | ncbroadband.gov. Ncbroadband.gov. Published 2022. Accessed February 6, 2022. https://www.ncbroadband.gov/news/press-releases/2022/01/31/application-window-open-350m-expand-internet-access-rural-nc

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Broadband as a Utility Digital Inclusion NC BIO

State of NC Broadband Resources

Broadband has historically been classified as a private utility instead of a public utility and the NC BIO or Broadband Infrastructure Office and the Office of Digital Equity and Inclusion are both state resources to move forward with broadband in our Western North Carolina region.

Dr. William A. Sederburg tells us more about NC broadband resources.

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Broadband funding FCC NC BIO State Efforts

Broadband Funding Working on Next Steps

What are the next steps for broadband funding in our nation, state, and communities?

Dr. William A. Sederburg has insights in the video below that include:

  • FCC to redo national mapping
  • Federal, State coordination of laws
  • Bidding processes
  • Funding distribution process
  • End of 2022 timing
  • Labor shortage considerations
  • Fiber cable worldwide demand, shortage
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Broadband access Broadband in WNC Nate Denny NC BIO North Carolina Stacey Hughes

Connect WNC

Broadband for All

Updates on Funding and Funneling Broadband

When Land-of-Sky, WestNGN Broadband, and the WNC Broadband Project team identified and starting working in broadband; we had dreams of getting everyone in Western North Carolina connected.

Over the years we’ve had wins that helped keep us motivated, but with limited resources we moved slowly towards our goals. It is now clear that likely upcoming changes to policy, programs, and funding are going to be giant disrupters to how we move forward broadband issues in the region.

We’ve been on pins and needles waiting on answers on how these changes will work in WNC, and we’re looking locally and the state to help fill in the learning gaps.  

One thing that is clear- in order to get everyone connected we’re going to need to deepen our relationship with partners.

Virtual Event Agenda

  • Introduction to Nate Denny, the new Deputy Secretary of Broadband and Digital Inclusion
  • NC Department of Information Technology Staff
  • First draft unveiling of the region’s digital inclusion plan from Land of Sky
  • Stacey Hughes from Dogwood Health Trust
  • Sara Nichols & Paul Moon from the Land-of-Sky Regional Council of Governments
  • More broadband leaders

We hope you can join us virtually July 29th, 2021 from 10-11:30 EST to get updates from leaders on how we CONNECT WNC. 

Register Today

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Broadband funding Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB) FCC NC BIO Older adults

Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB)

Help spread the this information of funding for the broadband benefit for qualified individuals.

$50 per month for internet service is available

How can you spread information about EBB?

The FCC provides a toolkit to help you marketing with:

  • Offline Marketing
  • Social Media Postings
  • Pairing with other digital inclusion efforts in WNC
  • Public access Wi-Fi locations
  • Device lending locations

A Quick Introduction to EBB

AARP, the Older Adults Technology Services (OATS), and Aging Connected have this short YouTube video on ‘A Quick Introduction to EBB.’

Digital Literacy Network

The Digital Literacy Network of Buncombe County was initiated to help provide technology support for the 60+ year-old.

Join the community efforts today by:

Other Resources

WNC Broadband Blogs Posts on the EBB

How to apply for the Emergency Broadband Benefit

Harnessing the Power of Technology to Change the Way We Age | OATS. (2021, May 20). OATS. https://oats.org/

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Advocacy Affordability Broadband access Digital Equity Digital Literacy NC BIO North Carolina www.DigLit.net

Achieving Digital Equity Is Within Our Reach

Gov. Roy Cooper proposes investing $1.2 billion in federal American Rescue Plan funds in these key pillars necessary to close the digital gap:

  • Infrastructure and access
  • Affordability
  • Digital literacy. 

By investing in these key pillars, North Carolina can achieve digital equity for all.

The Digital Divide | Broadband Infrastructure Office. (2021). https://www.ncbroadband.gov/digital-divide

Digital Equity Resources

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Broadband in WNC Broadband Playbook Economic Development Education Infrastructure Maps NC BIO

Broadband Community Playbook

NC Broadband Infrastructure Office

A community leadership playbook is here from the North Carolina Information Technology Broadband Infrastructure Office (BIO).

Playbook Outline

  • Planning Committees – recruit a dedicated group like the WNC Broadband Project and your Council of Governments (COG) to achieve your community’s broadband goals.
  • Assets & Needs – Identify broadband assets to meet our community needs. In Buncombe, Madison, Transylvania, and Henderson County, the Land-of-Sky Regional Council of Governments here here to help.
  • Building the Network – Form partnerships and roles to build you community’s broadband network. Who are your internet service providers (ISPs). What Wireless Internet Service Providers (WISP) do you have available? Are cellular and satellite viable options?
  • Connecting with Partner Providers – Make long-term relationships with broadband provides and your community. Shoot to implement a fiber optic solution, if possible.
  • Policy & Broadband – Create strategie and incentives to make you community attractive to broadband providers.

Review of the Playbook by Marc

Marc narrates the NC BIO Community Broadband Planning Playbook

Contact any member of our WNC Broadband project team today.


Community Broadband Planning Playbook | Broadband Infrastructure Office. (2021). Ncbroadband.gov. https://www.ncbroadband.gov/technical-assistance/playbook

Categories
Advocacy Broadband access Broadband funding Digital Divide NC BIO

Slow or No Internet?

We Need To Know About Poor Broadband Service

The NC Broadband Survey is designed to gather information on locations without adequate internet access and speeds in our community.

  • For homes and businesses WITHOUT internet service, text 919-750-0553 (standard text messaging rates will apply)

Your feedback directly impacts grant and infrastructure funding in your community.