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Listen | What’s the future of broadband expansion in NC? Dan Gerlach looks ahead in the Awake58 podcast.

Broadband access and affordability have come up often in our conversations as we travel across North Carolina, but the pandemic has elevated the urgency of the discussions among state and local leaders.

Companies such as Google have partnered with community colleges to increase access. An array of organizations have raised the interconnected issues that define the broadband challenge — including “last mile” access. Advocates have been beating the drum that broadband should be seen as a necessity, not a luxury.

Dan Gerlach, who among his roles served as head of the GoldenLEAF Foundation, joined the Awake58 podcast to talk about what could happen during the legislative session, when broadband is expected to be among the most significant issues.

Gerlach shared what he expects from Gov. Roy Cooper’s administration: “I expect a very aggressive proposal … along the lines of, we need this infrastructure to undergird … the bigger things we do as a state, which is education and healthcare.”

We also discussed the state’s budget picture, other items expected to come up during the legislative session, and, of course, Notre Dame football and food. Give it a listen below.

Behind the Story

Nation Hahn did the reporting and conducted the podcast interview. Alli Lindenberg produced the podcast episode.

Nation Hahn

Nation Hahn is the director of growth for EducationNC.

Alli Lindenberg

Alli Lindenberg is a multimedia reporter for EducationNC.