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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

Categories
Economic Development North Carolina Rural

Rural Broadband Week

NC’s Highlight of Digital Inclusion & Innovation

What is notable about this week?

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper has declared a proclamation of Rural Broadband Week for August 16th through August 20th.

Why a Rural Broadband Week?

The need is urgent for rural broadband access and adoption across North Carolina. It is critical to allow residents to participate in today’s digital economy.

High-speed internet is essential infrastructure for everyone, from students and teachers to small business owners, workers, doctors and farmers and we need to improve access for rural communities across our state.

In the wake of the devastating COVID-19 pandemic, we have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to empower every household in North Carolina to use fast internet service to link to new skills, global markets, education and healthcare.

NC Gov. Roy Cooper

Closing this digital gap requires transformational investments in infrastructure, affordability and digital skills by the state of North Carolina and strong collaboration with private and nonprofit partners.

We’re making great strides expanding rural broadband infrastructure. We now are aiming beyond infrastructure to achieve digital equity. That requires us to keep innovating new ways to increase affordability and promote digital literacy skills.

Jim Weaver, Secretary of the N.C. Department of Information Technology

It is wonderful that the Governor is highlighting this fundamental need in rebuilding our Western North Carolina communities and economy.

Dr. William Sederburg,
Retired College President & WNC Broadband Project
Chair

WNC Broadband Advocacy

Eighty-eight percent of counties in western North Carolina are designated as “rural” according to the 2010 US Census.

The Western North Carolina Broadband Project is advocating for dependable high-speed internet for all residents.

Please contact a member of the leadership team with your WNC internet questions / comments.



Governor Cooper Declares Rural Broadband Week to Highlight Digital Inclusion, Innovation | NC Gov. Cooper. Nc.gov. Published 2021. Accessed August 17, 2021. https://governor.nc.gov/news/press-releases/2021/08/16/governor-cooper-declares-rural-broadband-week-highlight-digital-inclusion-innovation

WNC Healthy Impact | Hospital & Public Health Agency Partnership Network | About. WNC Health Network. Published July 11, 2021. Accessed August 17, 2021. https://www.wnchn.org/wnc-data/about-wnc-2/

Categories
Broadband access Broadband in WNC Community Development Digital Divide Digital Inequality Fiber NTCA

#FIBERDelivers

WNC Needs To Build Big and Bold Broadband Infrastructure

Why does Western North Carolina need to build big and bold broadband infrastructure?

#FIBERDelivers

  • Fastest internet
  • Best investment
  • More connected education
  • Essential healthcare
  • 5G access
  • More jobs
  • Better gaming
  • Faster streaming
  • Robust teleworking

With a once-in-a-generation infrastructure opportunity ahead of us, now is the time to aim higher, do better and invest in technology built to last. For broadband, in many cases that means fiber. Fiber delivers not just what we need today but also holds promise for what will be needed in the future, as more Americans engage in teleworking, remote learning and telehealth, and as our country pursues 5G superiority.

Shirley Bloomfield, CEO, TCA

#WeAgree at the WNC Broadband Project.

Thanks to the @NTCAconnect – the Rural Broadband Association and their Chief Executive Officer @sbloomfield15 Shirley Bloomfield for advocating for #rural #broadband!

We can remove the #digitaldivide.

Categories
Broadband access Broadband in WNC Community Development Digital Divide Digital Inclusion Economic Development Education Gigabit NTCA Real Estate Shirley Bloomfield

WFH

Working From Home

How will the COVID-19 epidemic change the relationship from working in an office to working from home (WFH)?

How will WFH alter Asheville?

If 1/3 of Americans work from home, it changes transportation planning in a huge way.

Road Guy Rob

Transportation

In Buncombe County, we know the bottlenecks and high capacity of traffic on I-240, I-40, and I-26 as major interstates connect and bring-in or out employees. If work from home become permanent, the commuting demand shifts from vehicular traffic to broadband traffic.

Office Space

Yes, essential worker in hospitality, grocery stores, and other service industries in WNC will see needed transportation continue; but should an organization spend an enormous amount of money at their headquarter office to seat employees that cost $2.00 or more a square foot per month?

Land Use

How does the shift of working in an office to WFH effect home costs? Anyplace that has healthy broadband could become the new employment location. You don’t have to commute to work and there will be a ‘flight’ to smaller communities. Available land in the outskirts of WNC will become attractive home and workplaces.

Prerequisite

In the future there will be unprecedented availability of gigabit broadband which is available through fiber networks.

Urban cities can have 130 subscribers per mile. Rural communities can have 6-7 subscribers per mile. Fiber doesn’t get any cheaper based on where you are putting it in the ground. Yet in rural America it is even more important to bridge the digital divides.

Shirley Bloomfield, NTCA – The Rural Broadband Association CEO (Human Resource office in Biltmore Park)

The Big Picture

America and WNC is returning to a decentralized economy. The world economy is replacing the suburb commutes with the internet at the speed of light. Communtable work distances in WNC is limitless. Additionally, our carbon footprint will be reduced. Political and socioeconomic landscapes will change. What will be the role of mass transportation in WNC?

Categories
Broadband access Broadband funding Latency RDOF Rural Satellite Starlink

WNC Red-Green?

FCC Broadband Opportunity Map

RDOF Phase 1 Results

Is your rural Western North Carolina community striving for broadband?

Is Starlink low earth satellite a possibility for your internet needs?

The Federal Communication Committee has developed a drillable map of ‘Rural Digital Opportunity Funding‘ or RDOF – Phase 1 results by:

  • Gigabit: low latency
  • Above baseline; low latency
  • Above baseline; high latency
  • Baseline; low latency
  • Minimum; low latency
  • No Winning Bidder

https://www.fcc.gov/reports-research/maps/rdof-phase-i-dec-2020/

Contact a member of the WNC Broadband Project Team to learn more about getting dependable, high-speed internet in your community.

Also See

5G in WNC

Challenges Facing Satellite-Based Internet

Frequently Asked Questions About Broadband

Latency and Satellite for Internet Service…

Delay is the time that it takes for the bits of information or data to get across the network and back. Delay is typically measured in milliseconds (msec) or 1/1000th of a second. Two-way applications, such as conferencing, are sensitive to delay. Minimal delay is also very important in interactive gaming applications. For today’s Internet access, 20 msec is excellent. Most applications can tolerate delay of two to three times this length without an adverse effect.

Broadband Latency

Nelius, J. (2020, December 11). Here’s Where SpaceX Has Promised to Provide Starlink Internet. Gizmodo; Gizmodo. https://gizmodo.com/heres-where-spacex-has-promised-to-provide-starlink-int-1845850942

Federal Communications Commission. (2020). Federal Communications Commission. https://www.fcc.gov/reports-research/maps/rdof-phase-i-dec-2020/

Categories
Buncombe Rural

Governor Cooper Announces $30 million to Expand Internet Access in Rural Areas

Project Expected to Connect Households and Businesses to Broadband in Buncombe County

Buncombe County and the French Broad Electric Membership Cooperative will benefit from this supplementing round of the Growing Rural Economies with Access to Technology (GREAT) program funds.

“This pandemic is shining a light on the need for better high speed internet access in rural communities. These projects will the make sure the internet can connect people to the education, health care and jobs they need.”

GOVERNOR ROY COOPER

NC Gov. Cooper: Governor Cooper Announces $30 million to Expand Internet Access in Rural Areas. (2020, December 17). Nc.Gov. https://governor.nc.gov/news/governor-cooper-announces-30-million-expand-internet-access-rural-areas

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

Categories
Broadband in WNC Healthcare Rural Telemedicine

Broadband & Community Health

Referencing several Western North Carolina counties, broadband adoption is corelated to health disparities.

A disproportionate number of individuals in the study area live without access to basic health care services and access to specialists, such as cardiologists, because of distance and limited provider availability.


Health care access is improved in areas where broadband and telehealth services exist.


Patients are more aware of their conditions and equipped with self-management techniques to seek medical care when concerns arise.

https://muninetworks.org/content/what-lack-broadband-and-telehealth-doing-western-north-carolina

How can WNC improve healthcare with broadband adoption?

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 in WNC Community Development Rural WiFi

Fire Departments Role with Online Learning

How many students in Buncombe County do NOT have internet at home?

What is Jackson County’s doing to address this rural issue?

Could this happen in Buncombe County with 40% of the students studying from home?

https://wlos.com/news/local/fire-departments-could-play-big-role-in-helping-students-with-online-learning