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PLANNING & DEVELOPMENT

Broadband

Note: there are currently two separate RFIs for High-Speed Broadband published in Northampton County.  Interested respondents are welcome to respond to both if there is an interest in potentially serving both focus areas.  For clarity, responses to the Lasker/Rich Square/ Woodland Partnership RFI (response deadline 9/13/21) must be submitted to the Upper Coastal Plain Council of Governments.  Responses to the Gaston/Henrico/Lake Gaston RFI (response deadline 9/28/21) must be submitted to Northampton County Government.  

Northampton Partnership RFI for High-Speed Broadband (Lasker/Rich Square/Woodland)
RFI Cover Photo

Northampton County Government, the Town of Lasker, the Town of Rich Square, and the Town of Woodland have partnered to develop an RFI for high-speed internet/broadband services.  Technical assistance to this partnership is provided by the UCPCOG as a part of its EDA funded regional broadband initiative, described below.  

The RFI linked here will be kept up-to-date as the advertisement period (8/12 - 9/13) is open.  Any corrections, edits, or additional information related to the RFI will be described in red below.  

No corrections, edits, or other changes have been made.  No further information has been provided to potential respondents. 

Northampton Partnership RFI for High-Speed Broadband (Gaston/Henrico/Lake Gaston)
Focus Area OutlineNorthampton County Government and the Town of Gaston have partnered to released this an RFI for High-Speed Broadband/Internet Services.  This  RFI focus area consists of the US Census Bureau's Gaston Township in western Northampton County.  Questions must be submitted to Carl Schumpert, Economic Development Planner, before 9/21/21.  Responses are due by 9/28/21.  

The RFI linked here will be will be kept up-to-date as the advertisement period (8/25 - 9/28) is open.  Any corrections, edits, or additional information related to the RFI will be described in red below.

No corrections, edits, or other changes have been made.  No further information has been provided to potential respondents. 

Upper Coastal Plain Digital Inclusion Plan

The UCPCOG developed a regional digital inclusion plan in April 2021.  The document includes a unique digital inclusion plan for each of the five counties in the region after a robust planning process involving 5 separate steering committees and the Upper Coastal Plain Broadband Task Force.  The plan was facilitated and developed by the UCPCOG in partnership with Broadband Catalysts, thanks to a BAND-NC grant from NC State University's Institute for Emerging Issues. 

You can click here to view the full Upper Coastal Plain Digital Inclusion Plan.  

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Regional Broadband Initiative

UCPCOG and its Regional Broadband Task Force received a $72,000 grant from the US Department of Commerce, Economic Development Administration (EDA) to conduct a Regional Broadband Initiative with partners to better understand and address broadband challenges and opportunities for underserved communities across the Upper Coastal Plain five-county region.  

The initiative's scope of work includes:
  • Surveying local governments to determine current conditions, needs, goals, challenges, existing assets, and potential partnerships related to improving broadband infrastructure
  • Surveying public in communities across the region to more accurately determine needs, digital literacy, and more
  • Testing internet speeds in various locations throughout the region
  • Mapping broadband assets region-wide (public buildings, vertical assets, right-of-ways, planned/existing residential and commercial areas, and others)
  • Providing stakeholder and community educational and targeted, like webinars and workshops, to improve technical expertise, build relationships, support sound decision making, increase public demand, and more. 
The ultimate goal of the Regional Broadband Initiative is to attract or expand affordable, reliable, high-speed internet service across the region.

The UCP Broadband Task Force meets every other month and is open to representatives of all member local governments in the region.  Contact Ben for more information. 

You can view the Broadband Initiative press release here.
Community Survey

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Click the image above to take the survey!


Broadband Training

On May 8, 2020, UCPCOG joined NC Hearts Gigabit to host a webinar aimed at providing a better understanding of the broadband connectivity landscape to member local governments.  You can watch the recording of that webinar and others from NC Hearts Gigabit at the links below:

Broadband 101+ with UCPCOG

Better Broadband with Better Data + the NC Context

Broadband Planning: From Vision to Action

For more broadband resources, visit the NC Hearts Gigabit web page.


Upper Coastal Plain Region featured on WRAL wral docDocumentary Disconnected

UCP Broadband Task Force members Montre Freeman (Town of Enfield) and Gene Scott (City of Wilson) were featured in WRAL's Disconnected.  This documentary highlights the region's challenges in obtaining or expanding adequate, affordable, and reliable high-speed internet. 
You can view the full documentary here

Regional Broadband Strategies

STRATEGIES AND TACTICS
  • Improve robust and affordable broadband access to un-served and underserved areas to meet present and future needs.
  • Establish a regional broadband task force.
  • Identify and prioritize areas where high speed internet and broadband for middle and last mile is needed.
  • Create opportunities to optimize return on public and private investments in broadband infrastructure that can improve broadband services in the region. 
  • Identify incentives (e.g. grants, loans, tax programs) to encourage greater private investment by the telecoms in the broadband infrastructure.
  • Allow for public investment in broadband infrastructure
See more from CEDS 2022 here.


Additional Broadband Resources


Areas of our region lack adequate broadband access.  High-speed broadband is a necessity for the development of resilient and successful communities.  It is required for businesses to thrive and ultra-high-speed broadband in critical to global competitivness.

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Photo by Markus Spiske for Tech Daily