In 2016, the NC Chamber Foundation commissioned a rural study, “Spreading Economic Opportunity Across North Carolina,” which validated the importance of access to and adoption of broadband for businesses and students across the state. We know that broadband is a key infrastructure element critical to North Carolina’s future growth, but how should our state address access and adoption challenges in unserved and underserved communities?
As we’ve heard from NC Chamber member companies and the North Carolina Department of Commerce, the adoption of broadband in unserved and underserved areas often presents significant challenges. However, local policymakers typically view access to broadband as the greater challenge. This policy debate and tension between local governments and private companies has complicated efforts to meet the needs of unserved and underserved businesses and residents.
This year, the NC Chamber Foundation will commission a digital infrastructure access and adoption study to examine the existing policy issues and identify private-sector solutions to increase access to and the adoption of broadband. While many legislative solutions have been explored over the years, it is clear this issue needs more attention in order to find solutions that will best meet North Carolina’s needs. As the NC Chamber Foundation moves forward with this study, we look forward to working with stakeholders throughout the process to produce solutions that will address this critical issue.
If you have any questions about the study or would like to share your feedback, please contact Jason Soper.
Gary J. Salamido
Chief Operating Officer and Acting President