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- Blog Post - Broadband Expansion Efforts in Alamance County
Blog Post - Broadband Expansion Efforts in Alamance County
City of Burlington
Economic Development Department
March 1, 2022
Broadband Expansion Efforts in Alamance County
The pandemic made it clear that internet access is not just a want, but a dire need. When we were all forced to work from home, it was necessary to have reliable high-speed internet. Yet, that was not the reality for many.
The NC Broadband Infrastructure Office has been conducting a survey to determine the areas in the state without broadband coverage. Currently, 28% of the residents of Alamance County that took the survey are without internet access, and over 50% have slow access (39 Mbps). Additionally, 95% of the people without internet access live in rural communities.
Since the summer of 2021, the Piedmont Triad Regional Council and Impact Alamance have convened community leaders, government officials, and business owners to develop a plan to utilize federal funds to expand broadband access to the residents of Alamance County.
The group, formally known as the Digital Inclusion Alliance, has a mission to guide and promote the effort to provide the people of Alamance County, especially those in underserved communities, with equitable, affordable, reliable, and sustainable home access to online digital resources with the knowledge and ability to use that access beneficially for learning, business, entertainment, healthcare, and civic engagement.
Within the group, there are three planning committees: availability, access, and adoption. Availability aims to indicate the exact locations where homes and business lack sufficient broadband access and speed. Additionally, the availability group will use the information to improve broadband infrastructure mapping, expand broadband in key areas, and advocate for fiber infrastructure expansion.
The access committee focuses on residents’ capacity to take advantage of the broadband infrastructure available. They ask the questions about affordability of high-speed internet, and whether people are familiar with the resources/programs geared towards low-income communities.
Lastly, the adoption group concentrates on providing education and support to members of the community to effectively use the tools available to access distant services in the health, economic, education, civic participation industries. If you are interested in joining a planning group, reach out to email@example.com.
The Economic Development Offices’ contributions to the adoption group are centered on gathering and disseminating free and low-cost digital literacy resources for business owners and future and current workforce participants. The resources range from one-time workshops to series of lessons on strategies to advance technical skills that can be used to excel in entrepreneurship; like, cloud computing, marketing, data analysis, and more. With the completion of most courses, students will be able to receive a certificate to display to customers or future employers. The details regarding resources to support digital literacy for entrepreneurs and the workforce community can be found below.
In the end, the Digital Inclusion Alliance plans on submitting their Broadband plan to the local government, so money can be allocated to the initiatives and strategies listed in the final draft. Keep an eye out for local learning opportunities and courses offered through Alamance Community College, the Chamber, Alamance County Library system, and Right Here, Right Now.
Chandler Vaughan, Project Manager, EYOS Fellow
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