DURHAM, N.C. (WBTV/AP) – North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper, alongside U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo, made a major announcement regarding the future of broadband across the state.
It’s a step to bridge the digital divide and bring the internet to people without it. It’s called the Internet for All Initiative and it’s an extension of a federal program the White House announced this week.
Internet For All is focused on expanding infrastructure, bringing more internet access to rural and inner-city areas across the state. The initiative will also focus on digital literacy, teaching people how to navigate an increasingly online world.
First, N.C. will get $5 million of funds from the bipartisan infrastructure bill to build a five-year action plan. Then, the state will receive an additional $100 million at minimum to build out the infrastructure.
This will work hand-in-hand with the White House’s announcement earlier this week that they will provide vouchers to help people without high-speed internet get it for $30- a month.
Rep. David Price was in attendance and said now is the time to create a more connected N.C.
“In an increasingly online world, you don’t need to argue that this is important. It is important, it clearly is important,” Price said. “Connecting every household with high-speed internet is no longer a luxury but a necessity.”
This initiative is expected to create 100,000 jobs in the state as people lay fiber and turn on the internet across the state.
Gov. Roy Cooper is set to make a major broadband announcement Friday at 10:30 a.m.
Having the internet is something most people take for granted, but tens of thousands of people in the Carolinas don’t have it, hurting their ability to find jobs, do school work or access services.
According to state numbers, more than a million people in North Carolina lack internet access. In Mecklenburg County, it’s about 10%.
On Monday the Biden Administration announced Spectrum and AT&T are among the 20 companies that will provide those $30 a month high-speed internet plans for low-income families.
A family of four will need to make less than $55,500 a year or get assistance like food stamps, Medicaid or public housing.
The White House set up a website where people can sign up for the program.
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