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Broadband & The Digital Inclusion Plan

A person uses a laptop to access the internet.

Broadband Resources

Broadband service represents critical infrastructure necessary for the well-being of residents and businesses alike in the Foothills region. Local businesses and the jobs they create depend on high-speed Internet access to drive their operations. Residents of all ages need broadband service as they navigate the digital world through activities like telemedicine, distance learning and, in some cases, even work. Just like roads and water, access to broadband has become a necessity of modern life.

Digital Inclusion Planning in the Foothills Region

FRC supports our local communities in accessing this vital resource. In conjunction with local stakeholders and industry experts, the Commission is in the process of developing Digital Inclusion Plans (DIP) for Cleveland, McDowell, Polk, and Rutherford Counties. During this process, Foothills will be making use of the North Carolina Department of Information Technology’s flexible template for Digital Inclusion planning, which is available to download at the bottom of this webpage.

The key elements of digital inclusion are:

  • Access to broadband service.
  • Affordability.
  • Access to a user device.
  • Digital literacy and training.

This planning initiative includes funding for plans as well as implementation seed money, with generous assistance from Dogwood Health Trust and the North Carolina State University Institute for Emerging Issues.

The McDowell County Digital Inclusion Plan was adopted by the McDowell County Board of Commissioners on December 5, 2022. The final plan can be found here.

The Polk and Rutherford Counties Digital Inclusion Plan was adopted by the Rutherford County and Polk County Board of Commissioners in February and March of 2023. The final plan can be found here.

The Cleveland County Digital Inclusion Plan was adopted by the Cleveland County Board of Commissioners on September 5th, 2023. The final plan can be found here.