The N.C. Department of Information Technology on Monday released new data indices that provide a more accurate look at the current state of broadband access, adoption and the digital divide in communities across North Carolina.
NCDIT Secretary and State Chief Information Officer Eric Boyette announced the launch of the North Carolina Broadband Indices and accompanying visualizations of the data at the Institute for Emerging Issues “ReCONNECT to Technological Opportunity Forum.”
“One of our goals is to create a better picture of North Carolina’s broadband access limitations and opportunities,” Boyette said. “We are working toward ensuring all North Carolinians have access to affordable, reliable high-speed internet service.”
The indices are two unique measures that will inform the design of programs, policies and tools to align with the specific needs of each community by helping to demonstrate need, identify the most beneficial types of investments and determine where resources should be deployed.
“These indices are essential for gaining a better understanding of the areas we serve and the challenges those areas face when it comes to accessing and adopting high-speed connectivity,” said Jeff Sural, director of NCDIT’s Broadband Infrastructure Office. “With a clearer picture of where we stand as a state, we are better equipped to work with communities and our public and private partners to address these challenges.”
State and local leaders, private providers and advocates can use the indices to visualize the specific challenges, opportunities and key factors contributing to the digital divide for the areas they serve. The indices will then assist leaders in designing tailored solutions that meet the specific needs of their communities and increasing their residents’ opportunities to participate and thrive in today’s digital economy.
The Broadband Infrastructure Office last year commissioned Roberto Gallardo, Ph.D., a renowned broadband researcher from Purdue University, to create the North Carolina Broadband Indices. Data on where broadband is and isn’t available is notoriously underreported and thus does not fully depict the reality for many North Carolinians.
“These indices will give us great benchmarks for measuring change over time in broadband access and adoption and help us assess our progress in closing the digital divide,” said Amy Huffman, digital inclusion and policy manager for the Broadband Infrastructure Office.
The North Carolina Broadband Indices are available at https://ncbroadband.gov/
About the Broadband infrastructure Office
The Broadband Infrastructure Office leads the statewide initiatives to expand high-speed internet access, adoption and use for all North Carolinians. In 2019, Gov. Roy Cooper issued Executive Order 91 (EO91), which lays out clear directives to expand broadband across the state. EO91 established a task force comprised of cabinet agencies to maximize state resources, remove barriers to support the deployment of infrastructure and create partnerships that attack the homework gap and increase broadband adoption.