NCACC President and Washington County Commissioner Tracey Johnson (center) presides over the task force meeting on her presidential initiative. The task force is co-chaired by Cabarrus County Board Chair Steve Morris (left) and Bertie County Board Chair Ron Wesson (right).

Wake 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 held their second meeting. The group of commissioners and county staff, appointed by NCACC President and Washington County Commissioner Tracey Johnson, met as part of the presidential initiative seeking to explore the complexities and opportunities for expanding broadband.

Task force members heard a presentation from experts at the NC Department of Information Technology (NCDIT) on the importance of maps that influence broadband expansion projects and the process to challenge FCC maps and get more accurate data. Additionally, task force members heard from Derek Kelly, Vice President of Market Development for Lumos Fiber on county best practices and the importance of relationships with Internet Service Providers.

In the briefing, NCDIT’s Angie Bailey, Broadband Infrastructure Office Director; Stephanie Jane Edwards, Broadband Mapping & Data Lead; and Emily Gangi, Policy Director for the Division of Broadband and Digital Equity, explained how the broadband mapping process is used to determine how projects are funded and executed. 

“The Connecting Counties task force members and I are excited to continue learning about overcoming the barriers to broadband expansion throughout North Carolina. We appreciate our partnership with NCDIT and NC internet service providers; they are integral to helping counties navigate the complexities of broadband expansion projects,” said President Johnson.

The task force will continue its work advocating for expanding broadband access with a goal of developing a playbook for counties to replicate and meet the distinct needs in their communities.  The group will reconvene for its next meeting in February 2023. For more information on the initiative and the work of the task force, visit http://www.ncacc.org/connectingcounties

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Editors: Print quality photos may be downloaded for use here. Photos should be credited as follows: Photo courtesy of NCACC. 

About the NCACC: The North Carolina Association of County Commissioners (NCACC) is the official voice of all 100 counties on issues being considered by the General Assembly, Congress and federal and state agencies. The Association provides expertise to counties in the areas of advocacy, research, risk management and education and leadership training.

About the Connecting Counties Task Force: The North Carolina Association of County Commissioners (NCACC) President Tracey Johnson’s Connecting Counties task force is led by co-chairs Steve Morris, Board Chair of the Cabarrus County Commissioners, and Ron Wesson, Bertie County Commissioner. The Connecting CountiesTask Force represents counties from across the state, all dealing with unique challenges in securing access to broadband and seeking to break down the barriers to broadband expansion in NC.