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WNC Business

Land of Sky Regional Council receives nearly $900,000 grant

Dec 07, 2023 06:48PM ● By WNC Business
ASHEVILLE - Land of Sky Regional Council is pleased to announce that the Dogwood Health Trust awarded the Land of Sky WestNGN Program a grant of almost $900,000 to help expand efforts in bringing equitable access to the Land of Sky region. Through partnerships with regional partners, WestNGN will utilize this funding to continue closing the region's digital divide by facilitating broadband infrastructure, device access, affordability of service, and digital literacy. 

WestNGN was initially launched as an initiative of The Land of Sky Regional Council to create more digitally connected communities in Buncombe, Henderson, Madison, and Transylvania counties. These counties, located in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Western North Carolina, have historically been underfunded and had poorly accessible digital connectivity. WestNGN has worked to improve the significant gaps in broadband service and affordability in an effort to improve surrounding communities' access to vital services. This generous grant from Dogwood Trust will allow WestNGN to continue its efforts to grow the broadband ecosystem to include all the reasons citizens suffer digital distress. 

"Since the pandemic, we have been working on bridging the digital divide in Transylvania County. Working with Land of Sky and Dogwood has helped us reach more people and expand our impact. This new funding is taking our efforts to the next level and putting infrastructure into place. We are so thankful to be a part of this project," said Yvette Brooks, Executive Director of Through the Trees.

Previously, WestNGN has championed public WIFI projects in member governments, managed and distributed pandemic hotspots, and coordinated with community centers to provide reliable internet and device access. WestNGN continues this work today through strategic partnerships with regional stakeholders to improve its impact on the region. The Dogwood Heath Trust Grant will help expand existing digital projects and activate new ones with our community partners. 

"The people of WNC deserve to thrive and so many critical resources live in a digital landscape. These funds will help us expand our work to bring greater connectivity options to our citizens. We are helping to find those impacted by lack of connectivity to get them the connection they need. We are excited to be moving forward on closing the digital divide," said Sara Nichols, Land of Sky Energy and Economic Development Program Manager.

For more information on Land Of Sky Regional Council's programs, reach out to Sara Nichols at [email protected].