Next Generation Broadband for Western North Carolina

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By 2020, North Carolina can claim the title of the state with the most gigabit communities. Thanks to the work of the North Carolina Next Generation Network (NC NGN) project, itself an outgrowth of the Gig.U project, as well as other efforts, competitive gigabit networks are being built out by Google, AT&T, in a number of its major cities including Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, Charlotte, Greensboro, and Winston-Salem, as well as a number of its smaller communities, such as Carrboro, Pembroke and Holly Springs. But such deployments are not reaching everywhere in the state. Blair Levin, Executive Director of the National Broadband Plan, founder of Gig.U and a former municipal bond lawyer in North Carolina, returned to the state to speak to a group of local political and business leaders that is trying to duplicate the success of NC NGN for the western part of the state surrounding Asheville. In his speech, Levin explains why, despite significant evidence of the economic benefits of next generation networks, the equation for investment still makes it unlikely that market forces will deliver next generation networks to that part of the state.  He also explains that despite the positive press federal support for rural broadband is receiving in DC, that support is unlikely to lead to action that will change that equation.  He then lays out various models that hold promise for rural areas that wish to engage in self-help and key lessons learned from the communities that have been successful in accelerating the deployment of next-generation networks.


Next Generation Broadband for Western North Carolina