As part of a statewide effort to address the lack of broadband access in many unserved and under-served communities across North Carolina, the Connecting Counties Task Force – a committee formed by the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners (NCACC) –  has distilled the most important information, complexities and best practices from national broadband distribution leaders into a handy one-stop guide.

It’s called the “Broadband Playbook” and it’s meant to be used as a comprehensive resource for local governments and others attempting to expand broadband access in North Carolina.

NCACC President, Washington County Commissioner Tracey Johnson, stated recently that a majority of the people in the state have access to broadband. However, Johnson added, there’s a whole lot of work left to be done.

“In North Carolina, we have roughly 88% of our state that is fully served by broadband; there are so many areas that are without reliable access to the internet,” Johnson said, adding that the group had partnered with NC Department of Information Technology and others to produce and promote the Broadband Playbook for counties in our state.

In addition to broadband being a major concern for communities across the state, the issue has been a key one in recent years for the Guilford County Board of Commissioners.  The board has been looking into ways broadband dead spots across Guilford County can be eliminated.

It’s also an issue of disparity for the Guilford County commissioners since many of the areas in the county that are underserved by high-speed internet access are the more financially challenged areas.

The Broadband Playbook is designed to equip county leaders and staff with “information, resources, and strategies needed to explore opportunities for broadband expansion and to better serve county residents.”

The guide is divided into four sections – each with a distinct set of resources and strategies:

  • Foundational Resources
  • Technical Resources
  • Provider Partnership Resources
  • Public Awareness Resources

“We are excited to partner with the NCACC to help close the high-speed internet access gap in North Carolina,” said NC Department of Information Technology Deputy Secretary for Broadband and Digital Equity Nate Denny this week. “Thanks to unprecedented levels of federal funding and the resources available in the Broadband Playbook, counties have never been better positioned to expand broadband connectivity for their residents.”

The North Carolina Association of County Commissioners is the “official voice” of the 100 counties in the state collectively.

The association often petitions the General Assembly, the US Congress and federal and state agencies for policy changes and legislation regarding ways meant to benefit the state’s counties. It also provides expertise to counties on advocacy, research, risk management and leadership training.