The Broadband Infrastructure Office (BIO) was established by the State Chief Information Officer (SCIO) in 2015 as a statewide resource for broadband access, first responder communications, and classroom connectivity initiatives led by the State of North Carolina.
BIO aligns NC Broadband, the statewide effort to expand high-speed Internet access, with the FirstNet public safety initiative for improved resource-sharing across state agencies. The centralized and streamlined Office provides the opportunity to work across agencies and identify infrastructure development needs across North Carolina.
The Broadband Infrastructure Office’s mission inclues creating the nation’s first giga-state by 2020, expanding broadband access to underserved communities, and supporting digital learning by extending Wi-Fi access to every classroom in the state. The Office also provides policy recommendations and guidance to government leaders and key stakeholders to foster broadband infrastructure expansion, adoption and use.
Connecting North Carolina: State Broadband Plan
Recently, Governor McCrory announced the release of the Connecting North Carolina State Broadband Plan. The State Broadband Plan, developed by the Broadband Infrastructure Office within the Department of Information Technology, is a guiding document intended to inform policy makers as they create, implement and impact policies on the deployment, adoption and use of broadband infrastructure to enhance economic development, education, public safety and government efficiency.
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What is Broadband?
Broadband is another term for bandwidth, or the amount of data that can be sent through a connection to access high-speed Internet. The more bandwidth, the more information a user can send or receive at any given time. Broadband is an integral part of building a 21st century technology infrastructure that supports students, educators, first responders, and businesses.
Why is Broadband Important?
Broadband allows citizens more affordable and efficient access to basic amenities such as education, healthcare, public safety and government services by providing opportunities for:
- Citizens to participate in online learning and distance education
- Entrepreneurs and small and home-based business owners to compete alongside large corporations
- Increased productivity and efficiency of businesses that use the Internet in their operations
- Patients in remote areas to connect with healthcare services
- Government services to be more readily available to citizens
- Companies and organizations to allow employees to telework
- Allowing friends and families to stay in touch with one another
Broadband in the Classroom
Every K – 12 school in the state has high-speed Internet access, and 98% are served by dedicated fiber. Today, North Carolina is adapting to the changing demands of technology by extending Wi-Fi access to classrooms to support digital learning. To complete the recommendations of the North Carolina Digital Learning Plan, BIO will develop a plan to provide Internet access to all underserved homes to facilitate student access beyond the schoolhouse.