Help with your broadband planning and education


NTIA Broadband Adoption Toolkit

In May 2013 NTIA released a Broadband Adoption Toolkit based on the field-tested practices of recipients from the Sustainable Broadband Adoption and Public Computer Center grant categories. The Toolkit is a guide to planning and carrying out effective adoption programs with a wide variety of audiences, including youth, low-income, and seniors. It includes chapters on planning a new program, designing outreach and communications activities, setting up training classes, and choosing engaging curriculum. It also has links to detailed examples, tools, and videos that can save time and resources for program developers.


BroadbandUSA: Guide to Federal Funding of Broadband Projects

NTIA’s BroadbandUSA initiative presents this guide to key federal programs that offer funding for broadband-related projects.  NTIA intends this guide to answer questions from communities on how to access federal funding to support broadband planning, public access, digital literacy, adoption, and deployment.


SHLB Broadband Action Plan

Connecting Anchor Institutions: A Broadband Action Plan” was developed by the SHLB Coalition to provide ideas and actionable policy recommendations for government leaders at the federal, state, and local levels to address the broadband needs of anchor institutions. The ten policy papers highlight connectivity gaps and explain why broadband access is vital to communities nationwide.


Google Fiber City Checklist

The items on this checklist are a collection of best practices recommended by the Fiber to the Home Council, the Gig U report and the U.S. Conference of Mayors and can help any fiber provider or city that’s thinking of building a new network.

Smart Cities Readiness Guide

This document was assembled with input from many of the world’s leading smart city practitioners – the members and advisors of the Smart Cities Council. It will help you create a vision for the future of your own city. Equally important, it will help you build an action plan to get to that better future.

CLIC’s library on broadband public-private partnerships

The Coalition for Local Internet Choice’sKey Strategy Considerations for Building a Broadband Public–Private Partnership

BroadbandUSA’s Planning a Community Broadband Roadmap: A Toolkit for Local and Tribal Governments

This toolkit provides advice on developing a Community Broadband Roadmap for building broadband networks, enhancing public computer centers, expanding broadband to unserved areas, encouraging public-private partnerships and promoting broadband connectivity to homes, businesses and institutions. The goal of this publication is to help communities expand broadband access locally to create jobs, improve educational opportunities, promote economic development, spur private investment and facilitate the delivery of essential social services to their citizens.


Virginia Office of Telework Promotion and Broadband Assistance Broadband Toolkit

This toolkit has been developed to serve as a roadmap for communities seeking to obtain affordable last mile broadband services through a community influenced model. The content contained in the toolkit is intended to provide general information and guidance but is not intended to serve as legal, technical or financial advice.


State Library’s Job Search Toolkit

This website was developed during the economic downturn to help public libraries cope with the increase in job seekers using the library and its computers for job searching. The State Library found that many job searchers did not know how to use a PC, did not have an e-mail account and needed a lot of hands on support to get started on a job search. Along with the website The State Library offered job search training for public library staff across the state. The NC project was a model that was picked up and funded for libraries at the national level. Public libraries are still offering a lot of assistance to job searchers.


Broadband Florida Training Manual

This How-To-Do-It Manual is intended to provide stakeholders with a set of tools and a process for developing effective community Broadband plans. These plans will enable stakeholders to develop partnerships for addressing issues and resolving problems in the community.

This is the destination for digital literacy resources and collaboration. Use it to share and enhance the tools necessary to learn computer and Internet skills needed in today’s global work environment.

If you are new to computers, haven’t used them for a while, are a little unsure and uncomfortable, or just need a bit of a refresher, we have the tools to help you tackle technology at your own pace and gain the confidence you need to succeed.


Smart e-Business Tactics

The NC Broadband e-business tactics are designed to support small businesses in acquiring the knowledge and skills needed to take advantage of the potential of the Internet.


Grant and Funding Opportunities

Federal Grant Opportunities

Grant Program: Appalachian Regional Commission Grants

Grantor: Appalachian Regional Commission


Grant(s) Description: The Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) awards grants and contracts from funds appropriated annually to the Commission by Congress. Program grants are awarded to state and local agencies and governmental entities (i.e. economic development authorities), local governing boards (i.e. county councils) and nonprofit organizations (i.e. schools and organizations that build low-cost housing). Contracts are awarded for research on topics that directly impact economic development in the Appalachian Region.

NC Counties eligible include: Alexander, Alleghany, Ashe, Avery, Buncombe, Burke, Caldwell, Cherokee, Clay, Davie, Forsyth, Graham, Haywood, Henderson, Jackson, Macon, Madison, McDowell, Mitchell, Polk, Rutherford, Surry, Stokes, Swain, Transylvania, Watauga, Wilkes, Yadkin, and Yancey


Grant Program: Community Connect Program

Grantor: USDA


Grant(s) Description: The Community Connect program serves rural communities where broadband service is least likely to be available, but where it can make a tremendous difference in the quality of life for citizens. The projects funded by these grants will help rural residents tap into the enormous potential of the Internet.


Grant Program: Community Facility Grants

Grantor: USDA


Grant(s) Description: Community Programs provides grants to assist in the development of essential community facilities in rural areas and towns of up to 20,000 in population. Grants are authorized on a graduated scale. Applicants located in small communities with low populations and low incomes will receive a higher percentage of grants. Eligibility – Grants are available to public entities such as municipalities, counties, and special-purpose districts, as well as non-profit corporations and tribal governments. In addition, applicants must have the legal authority necessary for construction, operation, and maintenance of the proposed facility and also be unable to obtain needed funds from commercial sources at reasonable rates and terms.


Grant Program: E-Rate, School and Libraries USF Program

Grantor: Federal Communications Commission


Grant(s) Description: The schools and libraries universal service support program, commonly known as the E-rate program, helps schools and libraries to obtain affordable broadband.

Eligible schools, school districts and libraries may apply individually or as part of a consortium.  Funding may be requested under two categories of service: category one services to a school or library (telecommunications, telecommunications services and Internet access), and category two services that deliver Internet access within schools and libraries (internal connections, basic maintenance of internal connections, and managed internal broadband services). Discounts for support depend on the level of poverty and whether the school or library is located in an urban or rural area. The discounts range from 20 percent to 90 percent of the costs of eligible services.  E-rate program funding is based on demand up to an annual Commission-established cap of $3.9 billion.


Grant Program: Farm Bill Broadband Program

Grantor: USDA


Grant(s) Description: The Farm Bill Broadband Program is designed to provide loans for funding, on a technology neutral basis, for the costs of construction, improvement and acquisition of facilities and equipment to provide broadband service to eligible rural communities.


Grant Program: Health Innovation Funding Sources



Grant(s) Description: On this site the FCC compiles and lists several funding sources for telecommunications and broadband services for eligible health care providers. They are as follows:


Grant Program: Rural Business Development Grants

Grantor: USDA


Grant(s) Description: Combines the Rural Business Opportunity Grant (RBOG) program and the Rural Business Enterprise Grant (RBEG) program. USDA Rural Development is currently working on a rule to implement the program.


Grant Program: Telecommunications Infrastructure Loan Program

Grantor: USDA


Grant(s) Description: The Telecommunications Infrastructure Loan Program makes long-term direct and guaranteed loans to qualified organizations for the purpose of financing the improvement, expansion, construction, acquisition and operation of telephone lines, facilities or systems to furnish and improve telecommunications service in rural areas. All facilities financed must be capable of supporting broadband services.



Non-Profit and Foundation Grant Opportunities

Grantor: Education SuperHighway


Grant(s) Description: Education Superhighway’s mission is to upgrade Internet access in every public school classroom in America so that all students can take advantage of the promise of digital learning. They have identified and offer resources to communities to overcome three primary barriers to having adequate broadband speeds in the classroom, awareness, expertise and affordability.


Grant Program: ConnectHome, Connect2Compete, and ConnectED Initiatives

Grantor: EveryoneOn


Grant/Program Description: is a national nonprofit working to eliminate the digital divide by making high-speed, low-cost Internet service and computers, and free digital literacy courses accessible to all unconnected Americans.

They do so through partnerships with local Internet service providers, and offer free or $9.95 home Internet service in 48 states and the District of Columbia. They work with device refurbishers, so individuals and their families can purchase discounted devices, including $150 tablets and $199 laptops.

Citizens can directly interact with the organization and receive the benefits.


Grantor: Golden Leaf Foundation


Grant/Program Description: The Golden LEAF Foundation (GLF) funds projects that promise to bring significant economic improvement to the tobacco-dependent, economically distressed and/or rural communities of North Carolina.




Grant/Program Description: A Facebook led partnership with the mission to “connect the two thirds of the world that don’t have Internet access.”


Grant Program: NC Capital Access Program

Grantor: The Rural Center


Grant/Program Description: The North Carolina Capital Access Program expands business finance options for businesses across the state. By reducing risk, it encourages banks and other qualified lenders to consider loans that otherwise fall just outside conventional underwriting standards.




Grant/Program Description: TechSoup Global is one of the most comprehensive technology resources for non-governmental organizations around the world. Working with corporate donors, including Microsoft, Adobe, Cisco, and Symantec, TechSoup provides non-governmental organizations, nonprofits, libraries, and community-based organizations with the latest professional hardware, software, and services they need. These information and communication technology (ICT) donations are available alongside educational content, such as articles, webinars, and tech community forums.


Grantor: Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation


Grant/Program Description: The Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation makes grants to charitable, tax-exempt, 501(c)(3) organizations and government entities for programs and projects that serve the people of North Carolina. Some grants must be solicited in certain focus areas, but others can be made through their small grants programs.

Case Studies

NC Broadband LITE-UP Program

In early 2013, a total of 179 qualified disadvantaged households in Wilkes and Durham Counties were enrolled into the LITE-UP study. Participating households were randomly assigned to one of six different research cells that represent unique combinations of services and resources that are thought to influence broadband adoption and use, including access to a computer, cost of service, technical assistance and digital literacy training.


Public Wi-Fi Networks in North Carolina

In the fall of 2012, NC Broadband conducted a state-wide survey to gather more information about local public Wi-Fi networks. The survey was disseminated over the NCLGISA (North Carolina Local Government Information Systems Administration) listserv and was advertised during the fall NCLGISA conference, which brings together local government information technology professionals from across the state.


Computer and Internet Training

Digital Literacy Training Handouts


Discovery Education

Help with homework, educational games, assistance with math homework


Goodwill Community Foundation’s Learn Free Resources

Assistance with reading, math and computer applications


Fun Brain

Funbrain for its free educational games, online books, and comics. Funbrain, created for kids ages preschool through grade 8, offers more than 100 fun, interactive games that develop skills in math, reading, and literacy. Plus, kids can read a variety of popular books and comics on the site, including Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Amelia Writes Again, and Brewster Rocket.


Star Fall (specific to literacy)

A free website to teach children to read with phonics. For preschool, kindergarten, and first grade. Exciting phonics games and online interactive books.


Learning Games for Kids

Keyboarding games and more for kids.


Computer Memory Games for Kids


Goodwill Community Foundation’s Computer Basics

Tutorials on using computers


Goodwill Community Foundation’s Everyday Life Project

Tutorials on filling out job applications online, paying bills online and many more applications


Goodwill Community Foundation’s Internet Basics

Tutorials for popular and useful websites and tools


Northstar: Basic computer skills tutorials

Common Sense Media

Common Sense Media is dedicated to improving the lives of kids and families by providing the trustworthy information, education, and independent voice they need to thrive in a world of media and technology.


Internet Safety

The NC Department of Justice provides information on Internet safety and how to protect children from online predators. At this website parents can watch a short video on Internet safety tips.


Google’s Educational Resources


Shared library site


Web Academy

The Web Academy provides FREE online courses to the community and low cost web development services to nonprofit organizations and low income businesses. 100% of the online course work is distance learning taught by live instructors in real time. In exchange for offering FREE web classes, students are required to take on at least three web development projects.


Khan Academy

The Khan Academy is an organization on a mission, with the goal of changing education for the better by providing a free world-class education for anyone anywhere. All of the site’s resources are available to anyone. It doesn’t matter if you are a student, teacher, home-schooler, principal, or an adult returning to the classroom after 20 years. The Khan Academy’s materials and resources are available to you completely free of charge.


Lone Eagle Consulting’s Existing “People-Ready” Broadband Entrepreneurship and Digital Literacy Curriculum


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