In this first episode in our series of Why NC Broadband Matters, Christopher Mitchell, Director of the Community Broadband Networks Initiatives for the Institute for Local Self Reliance, interviews Alan Fitzpatrick, CEO of Open Broadband. Open Broadband is a relatively new, small internet service provider whose company’s goal is to solve the problem of residents not having access to modern broadband by providing it to them. Chris and Alan unpack the word “overbuilding” and clarify that what it actually means is bringing internet choice to residents and businesses–it means competition.

In this episode, Chris Mitchell, Director of the Community Broadband Networks Initiatives for the Institute for Local Self Reliance, interviews Gene Scott, the General Manager of Outside Plant for Greenlight. Greenlight is Wilson, North Carolina’s community-owned, fiber-to-the-home network that offers symmetrical gigabit broadband to every home and business in the community. Gene talks about the development of this network, why they chose fiber optics, and how the properties of that technology are future-proof. He recounts the story of their start in early 2007 and growing to a size of more than 10,000 customers today (almost half the households in a community with three providers). In their next phase, the enterprise has partnered with Wilson Community College to train young (and not so young) people in fiber optic skills so they can enter this dynamic field with a two-year community college degree. Finally, they will complete construction early next year on the “Gigeast Exchange,” a downtown, digital innovation hub, where anyone who has small business, new tech, ideas are welcomed to be part of Wilson’s future by bringing their ideas into the Exchange to learn how to implement and market them. Learn more @GigEast, @Greenlightnc

Episode 03: Broadband Mapping Means Money: Understanding How Data Drives Decisions

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Episode 04:  Future First: North Carolina’s Unique Broadband History and Lessons for Moving Forward

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Episode 05: The Homework Gap: What North Carolina is Doing About it

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Episode 06: North Carolina’s Electric Cooperatives are Changing the State’s Broadband Future

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Episode 07:  State Broadband Policy In North Carolina: An Update

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Episode 08: Rural Healthcare: Why Broadband Matters

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Episode 09:   NC Broadband Matters Now: Highlights from Regional Meetings

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Episode 10:  Why NC Broadband Matters for Public Safety

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