Broadband Growing, Options Opening

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There is a renewed initiative to increase broadband data access to rural areas of North Carolina.

Via N.C. Public Radio, we learn of a renewed initiative by the Microelectronics Center of North Carolina (MCNC) to increase broadband data access to rural areas of our state.

This is welcome news, for rural broadband access, believe it or not, has been a topic of some interest in our office.  Naturally Slim, the healthy eating program we’re offering as part of Spirited Life, is designed to be delivered via the Web in a multimedia format that includes streaming audio and video.  That means that it’s difficult, if not impossible, for pastors to use Naturally Slim if they lack high-speed Internet access at home or at church.  We feel that everyone should have access to the program components we’re offering through Spirited Life, so for a small but significant number of rural pastors, we have struggled to find a workaround.

But better broadband coverage has benefits that extend far beyond the confines of the Clergy Health Initiative. Consider the implications for public health.  With better Internet connectivity, caregivers would have more consistent access to information and patient records.  Doctors and nurses could be more innovative, efficient, and flexible in determining treatment approaches.  Patients seeing multiple providers could receive more coordinated care and be less subject to geographic disparities.

Broadband can empower us to be better consumers of health information and services, and fuller partners in our own wellness.  So bring on the bandwidth.

John James, M.A.
Research Analyst, Clergy Health Initiative

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