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Area Agency
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Community & Economic



Broadband & The Digital Inclusion Plan

A person uses a laptop to access the internet.

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 has started development of a Digital Inclusion Plan (DIP) that will take broadband to a higher level in Cleveland, McDowell, Polk, and Rutherford Counties.

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.

More DIP Resources

FRC held a virtual kick-off for the DIP project on April 28, 2022. A Zoom recording of the event is available here and the event agenda can be found here. Two PowerPoint presentations were offered at the kick-off and can be accessed by clicking the following links:

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.

For more information, please email James Ayers at [email protected].