Roanoke Electric Cooperative has announced a series of webinars to provide an update on Roanoke Connect’s planned broadband rollout and share timely information on ways to bridge the digital divide during the pandemic.
The “Broadband and Beyond” information sessions will offer a progress report on the Roanoke Connect initiative, with details about the new construction schedule and deployment timelines. The current plan calls for “fiber-to-the-premises” broadband, offering homes and businesses faster connection speeds and higher bandwidth. The program is ramping up to begin deployment of the upgraded high-speed internet service in October 2020.
The novel coronavirus has heightened awareness of the plight of those without internet access in North Carolina. It has also demonstrated the critical need for broadband connectivity in the rural areas of the co-op’s service territory. “We are building our fiber network as fast we can to better serve our communities, but in the short term we want to offer some suggestions and solutions to help our member-owners during this pandemic,” Roanoke Electric President and CEO Curtis Wynn.
To that end, the co-op has partnered with The Institute of Emerging Issues at North Carolina State University to offer the three-part webinar series. In addition to an update on Roanoke Connect, the webinars will also address the following related topics:
Accessing low-cost internet and devices
Tuesday, May 5, 11 AM – Noon
The COVID-19 pandemic underscores the critical need for solutions to overcome broadband barriers in rural communities. State and local representatives will offer timely information on how and where to access free and low-cost internet service options. They will also offer information on how to access low-cost devices, such as computers and laptops.
May 5th dial in information:
Public WiFi: Challenges and Opportunities
Tuesday, May 12, 11 AM – Noon
The pandemic has prompted an immediate need in the community for access to public WiFi. More places have emerged offering free access to internet service. Where can these local hot spots be found? Presenters will also discuss some of the challenges of public WIFI during COVID-19 as well as address cybersecurity concerns.
May 12th dial in information:
Telehealth in Response to COVID-19
Tuesday, May 19, 11 AM – Noon
While telehealth is nothing new, it has become essential during this pandemic. To contain the spread of infection at hospitals, medical offices and clinics, there has been a growing reliance on virtual doctor’s visits to address health concerns remotely. The discussion will focus on the broad range of health care services now offered to patients digitally via computers and mobile devices.
May 19th dial in information:
All member-owners are encouraged to participate in The Broadband & Beyond webinar series. The link to log in is provided for each date along with a dial in number. You will need join the webinar a few minutes early to download Microsoft Teams for free to see the virtual meeting. We encourage member- owners to use our free hot spot services to log on. Our website at roanokeelectric.com lists all the hot spots available across our service territory.
Each session will last about an hour, and participants will be in listen-only mode. All webinars will be recorded and posted on the co-op’s website following each session.
Roanoke Electric Cooperative provides service to 14,500 members in Bertie, Hertford, Halifax, Northampton, Gates, Perquimans and Chowan counties. Chartered in 1938 to provide light and power to farms, the co-op today serves as an engine of economic development and provides educational, recreational and community assistance services to enhance the quality of life of its member-owners throughout the diverse communities it serves. Roanoke Electric Cooperative is an equal opportunity provider and employer.
The Institute for Emerging Issues (IEI) at North Carolina State University is a nonpartisan public policy organization focused on the state’s vibrancy and economic competitiveness. Since 1986, the Emerging Issues Forum has attracted leaders in business, education and public policy to discuss issues with profound implications for North Carolina’s future prosperity. For more than three decades, the Forum has helped catalyze the policy reforms, public investments and other proactive responses required to build an enduring capacity for progress in North Carolina.