Bridging the Digital Divide in NC

More than 1 million North Carolinians have restricted or no access to connective broadband.

According to Broadband Now (a website dedicated to helping consumers find and compare internet service providers in their area), there are 394,000 North Carolinians without access to high speed Internet (25mbps download and 3 mbps upload speeds), another 118,000 North Carolinians who don't have any wired Internet providers available where they live, and 816,000 citizens that have access to only one wired provider — leaving them no options to switch.

Lack of connectivity is just one component of the digital divide — a chasm separating those who have access to reliable internet and devices and those who do not. The Institute for Emerging Issues at North Carolina State University (IEI) is working to ensure that communities across the state develop comprehensive strategies to bridge this digital divide.

IEI was founded in 2002 with a mission to address complex challenges that North Carolinians are facing, such as the digital divide. It seeks to engage citizens in civic conversations, organizing, and actions by facilitating connections with resources and providing the necessary opportunities to do so.

IEI works at a statewide level each year to inform local work that confronts today's challenges so that North Carolina can "emerge as a strong competitor in the global economy" and believes that "the best solutions for community problems come from communities themselves." IEI provides important knowledge and resources by bringing individuals and stakeholders together across differences to discover shared purposes, common agendas and more effective outcomes.