Broadband is critical for communities to thrive in today’s globally competitive environment. Greater broadband deployment fosters economic prosperity and growth, job creation, innovation, increased educational opportunities, better access to healthcare and improved public safety at the local, state and national level. The broadband division of the North Carolina Department of Commerce, is dedicated to encouraging the adoption and use of broadband Internet, identifying unserved and underserved areas and working to promote greater broadband availability across the state.
Under a $6.6 million dollar federal grant, the broadband division is responsible for specifically carrying out the following tasks:
- Mapping broadband technologies and infrastructure to identify unserved and underserved areas as well as to show where broadband is available across the state;
- Working with small and large service providers to encourage participation in data collection activities;
- Providing direct Technical Assistance to communities, businesses and organizations to develop and help execute community broadband plans;
- Responding to citizen inquiries;
- Conducting research and tracking broadband policy issues to help guide the state in technology-based economic development decision-making; and
- Implementing a pilot program, NC LITE-UP, designed to measure the impact of providing discounted Internet and free computers to low-income households in two select counties.