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Erica Anderson
Director of Economic and Community Development

WestNGN Broadband

 Digital Inclusion Plan

WNC without internet access - We have developed a WiFi Lot Map that will help more folks find locations to do homework, business, and healthcare. If you have a facility that could offer this service we'd love to help with that too.

WestNGN Broadband Survey

The WestNGN broadband initiative concluded their community survey in Spring 2019 with over 8,500 responses! This data is being used by local leadership and Internet Service Providers to help drive planning and investment to our regions unserved and underserved areas. As a product “Community Profiles” have been developed for Buncombe, Madison, Henderson, and Transylvania Counties. The results of this project showed that about 13% of the regions population did not have access to broadband and over 50% say their service doesn’t meet their needs. That number increases significantly when data is looked at for more rural areas where only satellite services may be offered. The study showed that much of the region does not have what the FCC defines as broadband at 25 mbps download and 3 mbps upload, meaning there are opportunities to improve access. Specific addresses are currently in the process of being delivered to ISP’s in order to help drive investment into underserved/unserved areas to help improve services. 

The WestNGN team continues to work to remove barriers to service providers through public-private partnerships, grants, and strategic planning.

Information from community profiles can be used by providers seeking grants or anyone seeking data relevant to broadband concerns. 

See below for links below for specific county profiles. 

Contact Erica Anderson at erica@landofsky.org for more information 

Many thanks to funding from Appalachian Regional Commission to help make this project possible.

Regional Broadband Leadership Forums

WestNGN has hosted a series of leadership forums to increase capacity, education, and awareness around broadband issues for the region. These forums began in 2016, where the first meeting was held at UNCA to learn about opportunities the region had to expand broadband resources using a model that had been used in the Research Triangle Park and Piedmont areas. Project updates in subsequent meetings and up to date information from industry leaders, community partners, funders, and policy makers keep local leadership abreast of cutting edge information. 

If you are interested in attending future forums please contact Sara Nichols at sara@landofsky.org.

Regional Broadband Initiative:
Developing a structure for broadband deployment is critical to the ability to attract businesses and entrepreneurs in advanced technologies, export opportunities, and professional and technical services. High-speed access is also critical for training the region's workforce to a level that the advanced manufacturing sector and other technology-intensive businesses demand. Without direct and focused investment in this infrastructure, the region will slip further behind the rest of the state's technology advancements.

Project Goal: Attract and leverage private investment from telecommunications companies.
The intent of the project is to highlight the conditions, assets, and collaboration of regional jurisdictions in order to gain high-speed service, greater capacity, and expanded infrastructure at competitive costs. Broadband is not necessarily the ‘leader’ for industries to locate in an area, but businesses are unwilling to locate to areas without adequate broadband. It is now considered a necessary infrastructure component for residential, business, healthcare, and educational users. These are key elements to build a competitive workforce, and to attract and retain technology- and knowledge-based businesses and entrepreneurs in the region.

Interested in helping move broadband projects forward in your community?

Here are some resources to use to help communicate to your community.

West Next Generation Network (NGN) Broadband is a regional initiative focused on stimulating the deployment of broadband networks in Western North Carolina. WestNGN’s goal is to encourage private sector providers to deliver ultra-fast bandwidth at highly affordable prices to ensure our region remains competitive and at the forefront of developing the next-generation applications essential to all sectors of the economy.

WestNGN High-Gigabit Broadband Project
This effort is led by six municipalities and universities with support from Land of Sky Regional Council.

Need: Bandwidth and high-speed access are the technological equivalents of highways and electricity. Contemporary and cutting-edge knowledge-based businesses and industries need bandwidth, fiber, an educated workforce, and a great place to live. Lack of affordable broadband services threatens our region’s ability to remain competitive and maintain its reputation as home to multiple hubs of technological innovation. North Carolina should ensure our residents and businesses are able to enjoy the benefits of these advanced technologies so as to promote economic development, improve local government services including access for anchor institutions, remote healthcare and reduce the digital divide.

The Land of Sky region has a strong entrepreneurial foundation, excellent quality of life, and growing technology sectors.

WestNGN is working toward continued focus on high-speed gigabit, middle-mile and last-mile fiber. This multi-pronged approach is necessary to bridge the digital divide common to our rural areas and ensure continued economic development opportunities.

Information on the NGN Project provided by North Carolina Next Generation Network (NCNGN) ncngn.org

WestNGN Timeline

WestNGN Municipalities

Collaborative Partnerships

Related Links

WestNGN RFN PackageWestNGN VisionFrequently Asked Questions

Next Generation Network (NGN) project in Raleigh area

Triangle RFP and FAQs

Greensboro NGN (TriGig) effort

Next-Generation Applications

US Ignite: We foster the development of next- generation applications. Through our work, we help developers, communities, individuals, and partners bring gigabit applications to life.

NIST and US Ignite 2016 Global Cities Teams Challenge: An initiative designed to advance the deployment of Internet of Things (IoT) technologies within a smart city / smart community environment. Hosted by the National Institute of Science and Technology and US-Ignite.

Other Resources

Fiber to the Home Council: The FTTH Council’s mission is to accelerate deployment of all-fiber access networks by demonstrating how fiber-enabled applications and solutions create value for service providers and their customers, promote economic development and enhance quality of life.

Gig.U: The University Community Next Generation Innovation Project, or Gig.U, is a broad-based group of over 30 leading research universities from across the United States. Drawing on America’s rich history of community-led innovation in research and entrepreneurship, Gig.U seeks to accelerate the deployment of ultra high-speed networks to leading U.S. universities and their surrounding communities.