What are the industries affected by broadband in Western North Carolina? There are many industries that can see better growth with better broadband.
Better broadband can be defined as:
Fast speeds with low latency
While planning a Facebook Live video recording at the local farmers market, we first ran a speed test and learned that due to upload speeds below 1 Mbps; a live recording could likely lead dropped video or broken audio. Thus we recorded the video an uploaded it to the YouTube link below.
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
Western North Carolina Broadband Project Chair Dr. William Sederburg talks about broadband and the situation of broadband maps from the FCC and the actual situation of broadband service as detailed in his letter to the FCC.
Our Western North Carolina Broadband Team Leader, 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.
In the WLOS video, Senator Kevin Corbin talks about the importance of broadband in Western North Carolina
Dr. Shelley White, President of Haywood Community College also references in the WLOS video the broadband client-access benefits for their Small Business Center.