ReCONNECT to Technological Opportunity: Communities


As part of the ReCONNECT to Technological Opportunity, the Institute for Emerging Issues chose five communities to tell their story regarding how they are actively working to best leverage high speed broadband for economic growth and community improvement.


A sneak peek at our ReCONNECT to Technological Opportunity Community Cohort


Charlotte Digital Inclusion Alliance

Communities Involved: City of Charlotte, Mecklenburg County, Charlotte Mecklenburg Library, Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools, Central Piedmont Community College, Digital Charlotte, Queens University, E2D, Charlotte Works, Goodwill of the Southern Piedmont, Leading on Opportunity

The Charlotte Digital Inclusion Alliance (CDIA) is a multi-institutional organization that aims to reduce the digital divide in Mecklenburg County. Members meet on a monthly basis to support each other in digital inclusion work, share best practices, engage in community listening sessions, and more. CDIA is playing a key role in Charlotte’s work to improve economic mobility for residents by building partnerships from multiple sectors to address the digital divide. CDIA believes that bridging this divide is one of the first steps to ensure equitable access to economic opportunity. Read More

City of Wilson and RIoT

Communities Involved: City of Wilson and RIoT

The City of Wilson and RIoT are combining efforts to make a greater impact in Eastern North Carolina. Building on Wilson’s community broadband service, Greenlight, the city is working to open the Gig East Exchange. This is a coworking space that will connect people and resources in the region. It will also be home to the RIoT Accelerator Program to provide support to new and existing small businesses and startups. They believe that infrastructure (broadband), collaboration space (Gig East Exchange), and proven business development programming (RAP) are ingredients that lead to economic development and growth. Read More

Digital Durham

Communities Involved: Durham, NC

Started in 2016, Digital Durham’s vision is to see everyone equally engaged in a digital world, with an emphasis on equity and inclusion. To accomplish their vision, they take a three-pronged approach focusing on internet access, computer devices, and digital literacy. Digital Durham also works with eight member organizations, from nonprofit and public entities, collaboratively to realize their vision. In 2019, they provided parent digital literacy training in two public schools. Read More

Land of Sky Regional Council, WestNGN Broadband Initiative

Communities Involved: Buncombe County, Henderson County, Madison County, Transylvania County

The WestNGN Broadband Initiative was created in response to the region’s concerns relating to broadband. They began by connecting the region’s major metropolitan areas. Using an “Internet for All” mindset, the WestNGN effort is focused on addressing the digital divide in communities by implementing community plans to increase the deployment of high speed broadband. Read More

Wilkes Community College

Communities Involved: Wilkes County, Ashe County, Alleghany County

In the three-county area of Alleghany, Ashe, and Wilkes, approximately 90% of residents have access to a gigabyte of fiber-optic internet. The region is now looking at how to best leverage that access by recruiting, supporting, and engaging potential residents. Partners across the region have come together to invest in an innovative platform and promotion campaign which will combine resources, connections and stories, the soon-to-be launched startup Northwest NC. Read More