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RALEIGH – SECU Foundation is continuing its long-standing support for the Institute for Emerging Issues (IEI) at NC State University with a $225,000 grant to assist with the expansion of IEI’s statewide digital inclusion program, Building a New Digital Economy in NC (BAND-NC).

IEI will appropriate the Foundation grant funds to provide 20 communities in the Northeast, Northwest, and Sandhills regions with the resources to establish a digital planning process or implement a digital inclusion plan to increase access to affordable internet services and devices for North Carolinians. Through BAND-NC, IEI seeks to make North Carolina the first state in the nation where every county has a digital inclusion plan, along with strategies to help all residents obtain and effectively use internet services.

“In today’s environment, the internet and supported devices such as computers and cellphones are vital to how we engage with others, learn, work, and know what’s going on in our local communities and the world,” said Stuart Hudson, SECU Regional Senior Vice President. “BAND-NC will help fill the gap for those with little or no access to internet services, especially in rural or underserved areas of our state. SECU Foundation is proud to help the Institute for Emerging Issues move forward with great success to bring digital equity to all 100 counties of our state.”

“Higher broadband adoption rates are closely linked to increased economic success,” said Leslie Boney, Director of the Institute for Emerging Issues. “This grant gives us a chance to work with counties in regions lagging behind – to increase digital literacy and the number of homes using broadband for education, work and health.”