Mecklenburg County, N.C. – As part of a statewide effort to address broadband access in unserved and under-served communities in North Carolina, the Connecting Counties Task Force met with executives from AT&T and Corning Optical Communications to understand the process of fiber development and deployment.
The commissioners and county staff, appointed by NCACC President and Washington County Commissioner Tracey Johnson, met as part of her presidential initiative seeking to explore the complexities and opportunities for expanding broadband.
Task force members engaged with and heard presentations from executives at AT&T and Corning to understand how local governments can engage and be effective partners in the fiber deployment process. Corning’s North Carolina operations include two of the world’s largest manufacturing sites for optical fiber and cable, the backbone of today’s broadband networks.
NCACC President and Washington County Commissioner Tracey Johnson discussed the importance of developing partnerships and sharing information, stating, “It was a pleasure to have the task force hosted by AT&T and Corning. We learned a lot about the broadband deployment process and how counties can partner with fiber and service providers to serve residents best.”
Additionally, task force members met with Trey Rabon, President of AT&T North Carolina, and Bob Whitman, vice president, global market development for carrier networks at Corning.
“I appreciated the opportunity to meet with the task force and talk about the importance of broadband for all North Carolinians,” Rabon said. “Even before the pandemic, people increasingly relied on the internet to stay connected with their family, friends and communities. Our experience shows that the demand for broadband is here to stay and will continue to grow as society continues to embrace an ever-connected world. That’s why AT&T is committed to working through local, state, and federal programs to close the digital divide.”
“At Corning, we believe everyone should have access to reliable, high-speed fiber broadband, no matter where they live,” Whitman said. “Connecting the unconnected, particularly in rural areas, is going to require an ecosystem of public and private partners. We’re proud to do our part as we work with the industry and government, ramp up manufacturing of optical cable here in North Carolina, and offer solutions that meet the specific needs of rural deployments.”
The task force will continue its work advocating for expanding broadband access with a goal of developing resources for counties such as a broadband playbook and toolkit to meet their communities’ distinct needs.
For more information on the initiative and the work of the task force, visit www.ncacc.org/connectingcounties.
Editors: Print quality photos may be downloaded for use here. Photos should be credited as follows: Photo courtesy of NCACC.