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NTIA Co-Hosts Summit for Carolinas’ HBCUs on Enhancing Broadband Opportunities

November 23, 2018 by Maureen Lewis, NTIA Director of Minority Telecommunications Development

Exemplifying the power of partnerships, NTIA recently teamed up with the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and Johnson C. Smith University to convene a broadband summit for HBCUs in North and South Carolina. On Nov. 15-17, faculty and administrators from 17 of the states’ combined 19 HBUCs, as well as government and industry representatives, gathered in Charlotte, N.C., for the fifth annual meeting of the Carolinas Alliance for Success in Education (CASE).

The summit’s title, “Smart HBCUs Disrupting the Digital Divide: Connecting Campuses to Communities through Broadband,” reflected a focus on the technology’s ability to fuel HBCUs as engines of economic growth.  Former Federal Communications Commissioner Mignon Clyburn opened the summit by challenging the audience to exploit broadband connectivity to leverage the legacy of HBUCs as essential community anchors that educate students and serve their neighboring communities. 

Jonathan Holifield, Executive Director of the White House Initiative on HBCUs, emphasized the integral role of HBCUs in advancing America’s global competiveness.  He urged North and South Carolina HBCUs to prepare students to become “dual pipelines of productivity” as higher impact employees creating value for their employers and higher growth entrepreneurs of innovative enterprises.

In recognition of the U.S. Department of Labor’s National Apprenticeship Week, representatives of the National Urban League, its Charlotte affiliate, and the Multicultural Media, Telecom, and Internet Council discussed the organizations’ partnership to promote apprenticeships that enable HBCU students to “earn as they learn.” 

The conference included panels showcasing broadband use on several Carolina HBCU campuses, and senior administrators revealed how the technology has improved instruction, increased operational efficiency, and enhanced community engagement. The summit concluded with presentations from the North Carolina Department of Transportation, that state’s Broadband Infrastructure Office, and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, among others, about resources to support broadband and innovation partnerships.

Continuing our successful efforts to expand broadband, NTIA will host a broadband workshop in Carson City, Nevada on January 11, 2019. The workshop will provide information on local broadband planning, funding and engagement with service providers, and efforts to improve digital inclusion. For further information, email For media inquiries, contact NTIA's Office of Public Affairs, (202) 482-7002,