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Broadband Bulldogs Digital Communication Information UNCA William Sederburg

Internet in Society

Stewarded by Dr. William Sederburg, Chair of the WNC Broadband Project; the WNC broadband leadership team has evolved a new community partner with the University of North Carolina at Asheville, in the Mass Communication Department; a new 2022 course titled Internet in Society.

“By definition, the Internet is a technical system: a communications infrastructure that enables networks around the globe to interconnect. It’s a network of networks.”

Broadband is the high capacity network of the internet.

Internet Society

Stay tuned for updates on the Broadband Bulldogs multimedia projects investigating broadband policies, digital red-lining, and the expanded need for high speed broadband due to Covid-19.

“How We See the Internet | Internet Society 2019 Global Internet Report.” 2019. Internet Society 2019 Global Internet Report. April 5, 2019.

Broadband access Digital Literacy Leslie Boney NC State IEI Randy Woodson Susan Mims

Digital Inclusion Plans To Take Advantage Of Broadband Connection Opportunities

What do North Carolina leaders have to say about upcoming broadband opportunities?

Ensuring that communities across the state have proper access to broadband and have a deeper understanding of the benefits of adopting digital technologies are essential components of our economic vitality.

Randy Woodson, NC State Chancellor

The new project will focus on development of formal, sustainable digital inclusion plans. IEI will work closely with regional councils of government (COGs) to help lead development of community-level plans to increase broadband adoption rates among all citizens, then provide counties startup funding to begin implementing the plans.

This grant is a terrific opportunity for western North Carolina communities to lead the way nationally in digital inclusion. Research shows that greater adoption of broadband in homes leads to better health outcomes, stronger economic development and better educational opportunity.

Leslie Boney, IEI Director

Broadband access is a key factor for achieving a fulfilled and healthy life, and is critical if we are to realize our vision of creating a Western North Carolina where every generation can live, learn, earn and thrive – with no exceptions.

Programs like BAND-NC help our neighbors and communities overcome the connectivity hurdles presented by geography or poverty to ensure that everyone has equitable access to this vital service.

We look forward to seeing the digital inclusion plans that our communities develop to help their residents take advantage of the opportunities broadband connections provide.

Dr. Susan Mims, Interim CEO of Dogwood Health Trust

“Dogwood Health Trust Pledges $2 Million to Support the Institute for Emerging Issues’ Effort to Increase Digital Literacy and Access across North Carolina.” 2021. Institute for Emerging Issues. December 14, 2021.

Advocacy Broadband access Broadband funding Broadband in WNC Ester Manheimer Matt Ballance William Sederburg

WLOS Coverage: Broadband Funding for WNC

WNC Broadband Media Press Collage

With WLOS, Matt Ballance, Chair of North Carolina’s District 11 Democratic Party, Asheville Mayor Ester Manheimer, and the WNC Broadband Project Chair William A. Sederburg… there is continued education on the non-partisan investment of our infrastructure: broadband funding for WNC.

With funding coming, building broadband networks in Western North Carolina will start with improved FCC and North Carolina map data.

Playlist on WNC Broadband

More about WNC Broadband at this playlist:

Aguirre K. Broadband expansion plans draw praise from WNC leaders. WLOS. Published December 9, 2021. Accessed December 10, 2021.

Broadband funding Broadband in WNC William Sederburg

Millions to Buncombe Broadband

Why was 2021 amazing for the future of WNC Broadband?

WNC Broadband Project Chair, Dr. William A. Sederburg shares thoughts on the first of this series.

Bill Sederburg, WNC Broadband Project Chair – Amazing Year

Millions of Dollars in NC Budget Heading to Buncombe for Broadband

The Asheville Citizen Times details more information in the link below.

Jones, Andrew. 2021. “‘Tired of Waiting’: Millions of Dollars in NC Budget Heading to Buncombe for Broadband.” The Asheville Citizen Times. Asheville Citizen Times. December 2, 2021.

Amy Huffman Capacity Grants Digital Equity Act (DEA) Digital Equity Competitive Grant Program Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) Planning Grants State Digital Equity Capacity Grant Program

Next Steps

The Infrastructure Act and Digital Equity Act

President Joe Biden has signed the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) into law.

The Infrastructure Act provides $65 billion to states, community organizations, and other entities for a range of broadband deployment and digital inclusion activities.

It’s the largest single investment in broadband and digital equity in the nation’s history and a truly historic, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to thoughtfully and systemically address the digital divide.

NDIA – Amy Huffman

Digital Equity Act of 2021 (DEA)

The DEA appropriates $2.75 billion to be distributed through two primary grant programs:

State Digital Equity Capacity Grant Program

  • Planning grants – funding to states to develop digital equity plans, which are required in order for states to be eligible for the capacity grants.
  • Capacity grants – designed to provide states with funding to support their digital inclusion priorities, strategies, and initiatives.

The DEA appropriates $60 million in planning grants, which are to be awarded to states to develop State Digital Equity Plans.

The Act allocates an additional $1.44 billion over five years for states to implement and oversee their respective State Digital Equity Plans.

Digital Equity Competitive Grant Program

The Digital Equity Competitive Grant Program awards grants to eligible entities, including but not limited to local governments, nonprofits, and community anchor institutions.

This program is appropriated $1.25 billion over five years.

The federal agencies, like the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), will now begin designing rules and grant programs to distribute the funds, which could take many months in some cases. As such, we may not see any broadband funds from the IIJA until fall 2022.

Amy Huffman’s suggestion for the WNC Broadband Project in the article linked below: celebrate, breathe, plan, and engage.

Huffman, Amy. 2021. “The Infrastructure Act and Digital Equity Act Passed … Now What? – National Digital Inclusion Alliance.” National Digital Inclusion Alliance. November 16, 2021.

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

Broadband access Broadband in WNC Digital Equity Digital Literacy GREAT Program Jeff Sural North Carolina

Nation’s First Office of Digital Equity and Literacy

Established by NC Governor Roy Cooper

Closing the digital divide in North Carolina can only happen with collaboration from:

  • Federal
  • State
  • Regional Councils of Governments
  • Counties
  • Cities
  • Communities

The WNC Broadband Project and the Digital Literacy Network are happy to hear this announcement from Governor Roy Cooper.

“The pandemic showed us more than ever the importance of digital equity in North Carolina,” said Gov. Cooper. “Creating the Office of Digital Equity and Literacy will enable us to accelerate the critical work of bringing all North Carolinians up to speed with the digital society so they can live more equitable, prosperous, educated and healthier lives.”

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper

NC Office of Digital Equity and Literacy

The office of Digital Equity and Literacy will execute Gov. Cooper’s plan to expand digital literacy offerings and partnerships across North Carolina, as well as lead the Digital Equity and Inclusion Collaborative and promote the NC Digital Inclusion Playbook for local municipalities.

Read More

Governor Cooper Establishes Nation’s First Office of Digital Equity and Literacy | NCDIT. Published 2021. Accessed July 4, 2021.

4G 5g 5G Basics Broadband in WNC Cable DSL EFF-Electronic Frontier Foundation Enresto Falcon Fiber Fiber Broadband Association

Fiber Optic Superior Speed

Fiber is a Superior Medium for 21st Century Broadband

How does fiber speed compare to other broadband mediums?

Thanks for the fiber advocacy of:

  • Ernesto Falcon, Senior Legislative Counsel at Electronic Frontier Foundation, Sacramento, California
  • Gary Bolton, President and CEO at Fiber Broadband Association

We have a graphic that compares the transmission speeds of each mediums from the past to the future:

  • 4G
  • DSL
  • Cable
  • 5G
  • Fiber Optics

Fiber is the superior medium for our future as it will also provide low latency.

The Case for Fiber to the Home, Today: Why Fiber is a Superior Medium for 21st Century Broadband. (2019, October 16). The Case for Fiber to the Home, Today: Why Fiber is a Superior Medium for 21st Century Broadband. Electronic Frontier Foundation.

Broadband 101 –

Broadband access Buncombe Community Development Digital Inequality Local Government Senate Bill Terri Wells Tim Love

Buncombe Government Can Not Help

The reality, the needed broadband infrastructure to reach all homes; is not in Buncombe County and other Western North Carolina communities; and our local government can’t currently build and lease the infrastructure to providers. Could Senate Bill 689 pass to allow local governments to help?

Love, Wells and others hoping to tap the arriving federal aid are watching various legislative proposals, especially Senate Bill 689, which would allow local governments to build the infrastructure and lease it to providers. The bill would also allow the use of grants, such as the rescue plan.

Citizen Times

In the mountains with low populations density and a low customer count, like when rural electrification was implemented; our state needs to allow local governments to create the needed infrastructure where it is geographically too expensive to build broadband networks.

Burgess, J. (2021, May 6). 35,000 Buncombe homes, businesses don’t have broadband, and NC law says the county can’t help. The Asheville Citizen Times; Asheville Citizen Times.

‌Also See

2021 Broadband State Legislation