Guest columnist: Broadband tops list of legislative priorities for upcoming session
The General Assembly will convene its biennial session Jan. 13. They’ll talk about how to get the economy back on its feet, address a learning gap in education, improve access to quality health care at an affordable price, put together a tax and spending plan and begin the centennial redistricting process.
But perhaps the most immediate and bipartisan issue they will address is broadband connectivity.
Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, North Carolinians were concerned about access to broadband. In many rural areas, there was no service. In many parts of North Carolina, the available service was inadequate. In urban areas, cost and reliable service was a concern. But with the pandemic, the broadband access problem became acute, as schools went to all online learning, employees were working from home, health care via telehealth was safer and more convenient and online commerce soared. Access to broadband is no longer a luxury; it’s a necessity.