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McDowell Matters Podcast to Feature Cawthorn, Greene on Rural Broadband Issues

Much has been written on the great Digital Divide, but what exactly is it? In my upcoming podcast on McDowell Matters, we'll dive into what it means, how it hurts rural communities, and what's being done to bridge the access gap.

Joining me for the conversation will be Rep. Dudley Greene-R, Rep. Madison Cawthorn-R, McDowell County commissioners Patrick Ellis and Brenda Vaughn, and Connect McDowell board member Keith Buchanan. The broadband episode will air on April 1, 2021, a day Buchanan is looking to get officially designated in the county as Broadband Day to bring awareness to the issue of broadband access and availability. 

While broadband is expanding across the nation, people living in rural areas such as McDowell County remain among the least likely to have broadband access. A fact that has been made evident in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic and its effects on businesses and schools. According to Broadband Now, North Carolina ranks 18th in the country and only 31% of North Carolinians have access to affordable broadband (plans costing $60 or less per month).

The lack of internet access places rural areas across the nati
Rep. Dudley Greene of North Carolina
on at a disadvantage for a variety of reasons including economic growth, healthcare, and education. School closings during 2020 and 2021 have set students back and made it extremely difficult for teachers to work with students when so many don't have internet access. RuralBroadband.com pinpoints the major obstacle facing McDowell and other rural areas saying, "However, cost-to-serve is the primary challenge associated with bringing broadband to rural areas." 

The episode brings broadband access advocates, local, and national office holders to the table in an effort to move the issue forward, share ideas, address issues, and create capacity for change. Rep. Madison Cawthorn

Tune in on April 1, 2021 for vibrant conversation on the issues important to you, your family, your business, and our community. 

 

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