RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. – MCNC today announced it will fully support the collaborative efforts from many state, local and federal stakeholders to ensure North Carolina maximizes the unprecedented opportunities now available for broadband and digital equity and inclusion investments.
U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina M. Raimondo was in Durham earlier this month to announce the launch of the Internet for All initiative, which will invest $45 billion to provide affordable, reliable, high-speed internet for everyone in America by the end of the decade. The initiative will be administered and implemented by the U.S. Department of Commerce's National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA).
Over the past 40 years MCNC has served as a vital convener and collaborator to bolster relationships with all key stakeholders in order to expand connectivity, increase innovation, and support economic development in North Carolina. MCNC President and CEO Tracy Doaks participated in roundtable discussions recently with NTIA, county and local municipalities, and other public/private collaborators including commercial service providers that focused on getting the right leaders in the same room to advance the state forward.
"There is strength and unity through collaboration, and this is a once-in-a-generation opportunity for North Carolina," said Doaks. "MCNC's mission is to strengthen North Carolina's future by making secure, high-speed Internet and technology services more accessible to everyone. This is now our moment! By working together every citizen in the state will gain the resources they need to fully participate in today's digital economy."
MCNC continues to be the trusted technology non-profit that serves North Carolina, providing a statewide fiber-optic backbone, high-speed connectivity, consulting, cybersecurity, data center, network engineering, and other services to community anchor institutions, non-profit organizations, and commercial providers. Clients include education, non-profit health care, libraries, state and local government, research, public safety organizations, and more. The Internet for All initiative will build Internet infrastructure, teach digital skills, and provide necessary technology to ensure that everyone in America – including communities of color, rural communities, and older Americans – has the access and skills they need to fully participate in today's society.
The Internet for All program launched with three Notices of Funding Opportunity:
- Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) Program ($42.5 billion)
- Enabling Middle Mile Broadband Infrastructure Program ($1 billion)
- State Digital Equity Act program ($1.5 billion)
Nearly two-thirds of states and territories have signaled their intention to get a piece of the new $45 billion broadband fund. On May 17, North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Commerce declaring North Carolina's intent to participate, requesting $5 million in initial planning funds for the state – one of the first states to do so. Gov. Cooper has designated the N.C. Department of Information Technology Division of Broadband and Digital Equity as the recipient and administering agent for BEAD Program awards. Other states and territories have until July 18 to signal their intent to apply for the funding.