State Broadband Plan State and local government leaders can improve broadband services and access by encouraging competition and empowering communities to act. By updating laws and policies and designing policies to incentivize broadband adoption, lawmakers can foster both the supply side and the demand side. Connecting North Carolina, the statewide plan for improving broadband infrastructure, recognizes that: Increased competition drives innovation, affordability and the deployment of future-proof infrastructure. In areas where competition is lacking, empowered and engaged communities form more equitable partnerships with private sector internet service providers. Communities can lower deployment costs by better leveraging existing infrastructure and easing access to rights of way and poles to facilitate path creation and investments in next-generation infrastructure. Community-based adoption and utilization programs help drive demand. Federal, state and private loans and grants offer untapped funding for infrastructure, planning and adoption initiatives, including subsidies for low-income households. Goals & Objectives The plan’s overarching goal is for every North Carolinian to have affordable access to broadband service – wireline or wireless – by June 2021. The following objectives support these goals: Increase the percentage of households with access to fiber optic cable to 50% by June 2021 Increase the percentage of households with access to broadband to 100% by June 2021 Increase household adoption rates to over 60% by June 2021 Affordable access to the internet outside school for 100% of K-12 students by June 2021 A statewide model for the development and deployment of local, community-based digital literacy programs Recommended Actions The plan’s recommendations specifically support achievement of these goals. While not interdependent, they are interrelated and build on one another. The final recommendations were informed by subject matter experts, providers and stakeholders. While compiling research and recommendations from stakeholders, two consistent themes emerged: 1) communities that plan and have "skin in the game" impact deployment and affect adoption; and 2) where competition is lacking, communities need to partner with private-sector entities and internet service providers to expand affordable options. The recommendations offer ways for state and local leaders to foster an ecosystem that supports the expansion of access and increased adoption at the community and state level.