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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 funding Broadband in WNC Economic Development FCC Kevin Jones RDOF Stagg Newman WLOS

About $45M in Federal Grants for Broadband Expansion in WNC

Our Western North Carolina Broadband Team Leader, Kevin Jones:

Looks like several WNC counties will be getting around $45M in RDOF funding.

Kevin Jones

Stagg Newman, Retired FCC Technologist and also a WNC Broadband Project Team Lead adds:

These grants help a bit. In Buncombe County, we have estimated that we have at least 15,000 Households without available future proof broadband service as defined in the Buncombe County RFP. These federal grants only address less than 1500 lines in Buncombe County, so less than 10% of the problem. I think the situation is similar in Henderson County and probably in other counties. So a small step in the right directions. The problem is most of the unserved areas do not qualify as totally unserved census blocks under the FCC Rural Development Opportunity Fund (RDOF). Congress mandated in 2019 that the FCC fix their mapping problem but only funded the FCC to do so in December of 2020. It will likely take the FCC at least two years to do so. The next $10 B of RDOF money will not be available until after the FCC fixes the maps.

Stagg Newman

In the WLOS video, Senator Kevin Corbin talks about the importance of broadband in Western North Carolina

WLOS – Sen. Kevin Corbin – (R) District 50

Dr. Shelley White, President of Haywood Community College also references in the WLOS video the broadband client-access benefits for their Small Business Center.

WLOS – Dr. Shelley White, President, Haywood Community College

Hodge, R. (2021, February 16). About $45 million in federal grants will help expand broadband in WNC. WLOS; WLOS. https://wlos.com/news/local/federal-grants-to-help-rural-counties-expand-broadband

Categories
Broadband in WNC Digital Inclusion Economic Development Philip Cooper

Appalachia Strong

What is Philip Cooper’s most powerful hashtag with the environment of the Appalachian Regional Commission‘s contributions toward economic development?

#AppalachiaStrong

The Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) is an economic development partnership agency of the federal government and 13 state governments focusing on 420 counties across the Appalachian Region, including Western North Carolina. ARC’s mission is to innovate, partner, and invest to build community capacity and strengthen economic growth in Appalachia.

Togetherness and a calls-to-action to improve the Appalachian areas.

Philip Cooper
Appalachia Strong – Philip Cooper

More from Philip Cooper on Broadband

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Digital Divide Digital Inclusion Economic Development Philip Cooper

Economic Development

‘That’s what you call digital inclusion baby’

A simple laptop with broadband connectivity provides economic development opportunities for employment, businesses, and nonprofits. Philip Cooper talks about his business, ‘Hire Powered Staffing’ and it’s future evolution to ‘Hired Power WNC.’

But those that are socially and economically disconnected from opportunities, there is no digital inclusion. For entrepreneurs like Philip, no office is needed. A computer, smartphone, and internet access are Philip’s office.

Philip also introduces Amanda Jo Murphy, Executive Director and her program at Reconnecting – https://www.facebook.com/reconnectingreentry – Laptops for Reentry, a non profit that she started – https://www.reconnectingreentry.com/ ,

To help with digital inclusion, please consider donating laptops for Zoom meetings, job search, soft skills training through Goodwill, and NC Works.

Philip Cooper talks about how laptops and internet connectivity provide economic development opportunties.

#ApplachiaStrong

Categories
Asheville Broadband access Digital Divide Education Philip Cooper Rural

Broadband Privileged

Broadband can easily be assumed as a given for those that live in the City of Asheville, but as an individual is further in the countryside of Western North Carolina and in the Appalachian Region, high speed internet may not be available.

Philip Cooper talks about his collaboration with the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) and how is he privileged to have high speed internet available.

Learn More About Philip Cooper

#appalachiastrong

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A-B Tech Economic Development Philip Cooper

Change Agent

Philip Cooper

During Philip Cooper’s employment at our local community college, Philip became a ‘Change Agent’ for his work in the human resource development area. Carrying that further, Philip opened his own consultancy, ‘Change Agent Cooper LLC’ to help in gaps and disparities.

Philips talks about how broadband and social media help to communicate upcoming trainings, job fairs, and information to friends. Inspire or retire is his hashtag to help personal and professional development. He defines social media with his personal calling and careers.

Philip Cooper talks to Marc Czarnecki about how he uses ‘Change Agent’ online

Previous Segments

Introduction to Philip Cooper the Xennial

Connecting with People with Hashtags

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Facebook Instagram LinkedIn Philip Cooper YouTube

Connect with People

Interview with Philip Cooper

Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram are online communication tools that require internet access and more importantly broadband or high-speed internet for video consumption and contributions.

Philip Cooper talks about his use of online tools in the video below.

Philip Cooper discusses the crazy effective use of hashtags to connect with people with broadband

Online Channels

Facebook, Linkedin, Facebook, Instagram provide broadband tools to connect people. Furthermore Philip in this second chapter of his interview talks about how the online use of hashtags or a word or phrase preceded by a hash sign (#) on social media websites and applications to identify digital content on a specific topic.

For Philip, he found power in the use of hashtags that include:

  • #recoverydoeshappen
  • #imforsecondchances
  • #appalachiastrong
  • #828strong
  • #supportiveservices

Who is Philip in the WNC online world? See the first in a series of WNC Broadband interviews, Philip Cooper the Xennial.

Categories
A-B Tech Community Development Digital Inclusion Economic Development Education People Philip Cooper

Philip Cooper the Xennial

‘Change Agent’ Philip Cooper calls himself a Xennial; a mix between millennial and a GenX. How does a Xennial use broadband? This series discusses topics around Philip Cooper, a native Western North Carolinian from Rutherford County and broadband.

Philip talks about Maslow’s hierarchy of shelter and and food. How does digital inclusion and digital equity fit here? More focused, what about our criminal justice system and the prisoner re-entry program of a community workforce development plan.

A Gateway computer was Philips introduction to technology as a Xennial. He is a socialite with computers.

#AppalachiaStrong Philip Cooper, a Xennial