While most of us are fearful of someone hacking our computers, others like the 1.1 million North Carolinians don’t have broadband. The Institute for Emerging Issues at NC State University received a $250,000 grant from the John M. Belk Endowment to help with this issue. This grant supports Building a New Digital Economy in North Carolina called BAND-NC. The program works with communities across the state to bridge North Carolina’s digital divide. BAND-NC provides technical assistance, training, and mini-grants to communities across the state to develop and implement digital inclusion plans.
As of August 2022, fifteen counties have adopted digital inclusion plans through the BAND-NC program. As they move forward the grant, IEI will continue working with counties to address the challenges of broadband adoption and improve digital inclusion efforts. Broadband allows citizens more affordable and efficient access to basic amenities such as education, healthcare, public safety, and government services. IEI is a nonpartisan public policy organization focused on the state’s vibrancy and economic competitiveness.