10 episodes

A Project of NC Broadband Matters

Why NC Broadband Matters NC Hearts Gigabit

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A Project of NC Broadband Matters

    AUDIO of NC Broadband Matters June 1st Webinar: From Vision to Action-How to Find Private Partners and Funding

    AUDIO of NC Broadband Matters June 1st Webinar: From Vision to Action-How to Find Private Partners and Funding

    This is a 90 minute audiotape of NC Broadband Matters June 1st, 2020, webinar featuring two of our Board members, Doug Dawson from CCG Consulting and Deborah Watts from Broadband Catalysts, who tie our three webinars together with From [Broadband] Vision to Action. Doug identifies how to attract a private broadband partner to your community and Deb identifies various funding sources. Through question and answers, they both then encourage any size community to improve their broadband future, and how to remain persistent.

    Episode 09: Legislative History of H129: Part 2 – How H129 Came About and the Lessons it Teaches

    Episode 09: Legislative History of H129: Part 2 – How H129 Came About and the Lessons it Teaches

    In Part 2 of this NC Broadband Matters webinar, Jack Cozort, Government Relations specialist from North State Strategies and Catharine Rice, co-founder of NC Broadband Matters, walk through some of the eyebrow raising events that took place on the ground during the making of H129 – the so-called “Level Playing Field Act” in 2011.  Jack notes the line crossed that year under new House and Senate leadership, where broadband became a state-level partisan issue even though back in local communities, it was seen by local officials, from differing party affiliations, as just infrastructure essential for their residents and businesses to participate in a global economy dependent on the internet. Chris Mitchell uses this hour- long interview to tease out the lessons learned, and touches on the hope that this pandemic has raised the awareness in state elected officials that it is time for local communities to be broadband unleashed.Jack starts and ends the show noting that now is the time for you to ask your election year candidates, are you willing to give local communities the options they need to bring us the modern broadband [this pandemic has shown us] we so desperately need.

    Episode 08: Legislative History of H129 Part 1: from Local Cable Franchising to Fighting for Local Internet Choice

    Episode 08: Legislative History of H129 Part 1: from Local Cable Franchising to Fighting for Local Internet Choice

    The current pandemic highlights the critical nature of access to modern broadband, and yet too many residents and students have none, and find themselves driving to find a static school bus wired for internet or a library parking lot so they can complete their homework or apply for a job. How did we get here? Chris Mitchell from the Institute of Local Self Reliance interviews Jack Cozort, Government Relations specialist with North State Strategies and Catharine Rice, co-founder of NC Broadband Matters, for some insights into the making of H129, legislation passed in 2011 that effectively prohibits local communities –still 9 years later –from provisioning internet to their residents and businesses. In Part 1,  Jack and Catharine remind the listener that prior to 2006, local NC communities had local cable franchising authority which they could utilize to require cable operators to deploy these information pipelines to local homes, and how the cable and telephone industry lobbied their way to monopoly status and abandoning under-served communities in North Carolina.

    AUDIO of NC Broadband Matters May 18 Webinar: Better Broadband with Better Data + NC Policy Context

    AUDIO of NC Broadband Matters May 18 Webinar: Better Broadband with Better Data + NC Policy Context

    This is a 90 minute audiotape of NC Broadband Matters May 18th Webinar featuring Erin Wynia, Chief Legislative Counsel at NC League of Municipalities, Brian Rathbone and Deb Watts from Broadband Catalysts, and Stephanie Jane Edwards from MCNC.  Erin provides a useful comparison of DSL to fiber technology,  a quick overview of the policies that inhibit NC municipalities from deploying this infrastructure themselves, and legislation NCLM is pursuing (including HB431) to improve those options. Brian covers weaknesses in the current FCC Form 477 broadband data  and how his firm is collecting alternative data. Deb Watts covers trends in telehealth and the level of the Homework Gap in North Carolina. Stephanie Jane reviews MCNC’s role in working with anchor institutions to identify new ways of reducing the state’s digital divide.

    Episode 07: Rural Healthcare: Why Broadband Matters

    Episode 07: Rural Healthcare: Why Broadband Matters

    In this seventh episode, Chris Mitchell of the Institute for Local Self Reliance speaks with David Kirby, President and founder of the North Carolina Telehealth Network Association, to discuss why broadband matters for rural healthcare. With the “sheltering-in” requirements of COVID-19 in full swing, perhaps this is a rhetorical question no matter where you live, but David Kirby widens the lens and explains how telehealth began more than 15 years ago, if not when the first telephone was installed. By describing the healthcare services that would terminate if a fiber optic  were cut, he shows us  the diverse and numerous services that are available to some, and could be available to everyone if high capacity and reliable broadband infrastructure connected to every home. He talks about various barriers that are coming down –from insurance coverage, to legal liabilities, to acceptance by the caregivers, but how the internet capacity barriers in rural areas remain stark, a troubling characteristics where hospitals were already closing, and geographical distance is a barrier to healthcare.  Access to broadband “is as important as power, water and any other utility at the typical clinic site today,” he stated. Perhaps a silver lining of this COVID-19 pandemic is the stark awareness it has created of the significant societal benefits modern broadband at home could play in maintaining a healthy society in the future. As David simply put it: “Being healthy is a (societal) good in itself – it is quality of life.”

    Episode 06: The Homework Gap and What North Carolina is Doing About It

    Episode 06: The Homework Gap and What North Carolina is Doing About It

    What is the Homework Gap? According to FCC Commissioner Rosenworcel “It is the cruelest part of the new digital divide.” It is where students cannot do their homework at home, because they have no broadband access. This sets up an immediate inequality for students and their future opportunities. Our sixth podcast with Chris Mitchell is again from Raleigh, NC, where he spoke with Dr. Lutricia Townsend, Director of Evaluation Programs from the Friday Institute for Educational Innovation, and Amy Huffman, Digital Inclusion & Policy Manager for the Broadband Infrastructure Office at the NC Department of Information Technology. Dr. Townsend notes how 70% of teachers assign homework that requires access to the internet, setting up an immediate disadvantage for students with no internet at home, and forcing teachers to find solutions which don’t truly close the gap. Amy Huffman dives into specifics in North Carolina, describing the result of a recent survey her office completed on how many students (20%) and why students don’t have access (cost or none provided in their community). She notes how North Carolina now only funds digital school books, and what her office and the Governor are doing to equalize the state’s digital inequality. Chris ends the show by reiterating the announcement of a new grant program for NC localities to develop their own digital inclusion plans, described here.

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