The National Telecommunications and Information Administration’s (NTIA) BroadbandUSA program will host a webinar on the role of states in expanding broadband access, on Wednesday, 19 February 2020, at 2 pm. Webinar speakers will include Kathryn de Wit, Manager, Broadband Research Initiative, Pew Charitable Trusts; Deana Perry, Executive Director, Georgia Rural Broadband Program; and Crystal Ivey, Broadband Director, Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development. To learn more about digital-divide innovations underway in two of North Carolina’s neighboring states, and to register for this webinar, visit BroadbandUSA.
In her recent CNET article on two bills passed by the US House of Representatives to address broadband mapping inaccuracy, Marguerite Reardon reports that Congress is starting to understand that the FCC needs to radically “improve its current broadband maps, which have come under fire from lawmakers on the left and right for being inaccurate, overstating coverage in many rural areas of the country.” Reardon’s article addresses how “census block reporting,” used by providers to inform government leaders and broadband users on service coverage drastically overstates who has broadband at the expense of those who do not, particularly in rural areas. With at least 21 million Americans lacking access to high-speed broadband (with download speeds of at least 25 Mbps), the economic and social costs of inaccurate mapping can be stunning. To learn more, visit CNET.
In case you missed the USDA ReConnect Program webinar on funding for rural broadband, Connected Nation–an organization dedicated to broadband access, adoption, and use–is making available a recording of the webinar for interested viewers. The recording will provide an opportunity to learn about how communities can apply to the second round of ReConnect Program funding (a total of $550 million is available); hear from USDA officials how the program works; and get a sense of ways to enhance applications and improve chances of being funded. To learn more about the USDA ReConnect Program, visit Connected Nation.
In the popular imagination, 5G (or fifth generation) network technology promises higher digital speeds, transformative transmission capacity, expanded access, and a host of amazing new applications and services for consumers and businesses alike. Kevin Werbach, professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School and author of The Blockchain and the New Architecture of Trust, offers a more restrained assessment. In “The ‘Race to 5G’ Is a Myth,” Werbach argues that 5G, like 3G and 4G before it, will take at least a decade to make its true impact. Moreover, while the change it brings may eventually be great, its implications for the average end-user of the internet might be much more modest. To learn more, visit CNN Business Perspectives.
Beth Ford, the CEO of the Land O’Lakes diary co-op, participated recently in the keynote conversation at the 2019 Forbes AgTech Summit in Salinas, CA. She noted that future access to high-speed broadband will be pivotal for rural communities working to address high unemployment, poor access to healthcare and, ironically, growing food insecurity. To learn more about her remarks at the AgTech Summit, visit Forbes.
The Institute for Emerging Issues ReCONNECT to Technological Opportunity initiative is hosting a working forum for interested North Carolinians. This forum will provide participants with a chance to explore with others what their communities can do to leverage high-speed Internet in an equitable way. To learn more about the program and registration for this forum, visit the IEI ReCONNECT site.
On Tuesday, 28 January, MCNC—the operator of the North Carolina Research and Education Network (NCREN)—and Facebook announced that they are joining forces to offer high-speed broadband to nearly 30 communities in Rutherford, Burke, Caldwell, Wilkes, and Surry counties. Read more…
For many in the U.S., access to internet service, when available, remains unaffordable. Increasingly, though, internet service providers are offering internet packages at lower prices to meet the needs of low-income individuals and families. Read more….
Over 100 regional leaders–from state, county, and city government; from area universities and colleges; and from local business communities–met at UNC Ashveille on Monday, 27 January, to discuss issues surrounding broadband infrastructure and access in Western North Carolina. To read more about the Summit, visit WLOS News 13.
This past December, the United Nations reported that more than half of the world’s population–almost 4 billion people–are still without internet access. According to the FCC’s Eighth Broadband Report, 6% of Americans lack access to high-speed internet at “threshold speeds,” and one-fourth of rural residents lack any service. Many in the tech industry, however, have pointed to improved satellite-based internet as a means of providing affordable high-speed service to those who have been excluded. As CNN Business reports, Elon Musk’s SpaceX project Starlink may be the first effort in satellite-based internet that has a shot of being both technologically feasible and economically viable. Read more…