Access to high-speed internet anytime, anywhere allows people to fully participate in educational, economic and social opportunities. Yet, many households in North Carolina, and across the nation, still do not have access to high-speed internet. Others are not connected for reasons such as cost and lack of technical skills. Jeff Sural, director of the North Carolina Department of Information Technology’s (NCDIT) Broadband Infrastructure Office provided testimony on the issue last week to the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Communications and Technology.
The hearing on “Empowering and Connecting Communities through Digital Equity and Internet Adoption” focused on unconnected households and barriers to internet adoption.
Governor Roy Cooper and NCDIT have made Increasing broadband adoption and improving digital equity a top priority. The Broadband Infrastructure Office is leading efforts to collaborate with local digital equity efforts and gather data on adoption while working through the Governor’s Task Force on Connecting North Carolina with cabinet agencies to close the homework gap and encourage affordability for broadband access.
“In North Carolina we have found that partnerships between the public and private sectors, particularly at the municipal or regional level, that work to address the specific causes of the digital divide their communities face, are the only way we’ll close the digital divide,” said Sural.
Other witnesses were: Angela Siefer, executive director of the National Digital Inclusion Alliance; Joshua Edmonds, director of Digital Inclusion for the City of Detroit, MI; Gigi Sohn, distinguished fellow at Georgetown Law Institute for Technology Law and Policy; and Roslyn Layton, visiting scholar at the American Enterprise Institute.