NDIA Affiliate Land of Sky Testifies before House Subcommittee


“We need a holistic approach to the digital divide that includes infrastructure, affordability, devices, and skills,” said Sara Nichols during her testimony yesterday before Congress.

Sara, a senior planner for the Land of Sky Regional Council in western North Carolina and NDIA Affiliate, testified September 21 before the House Communications and Technology Subcommittee at the hearing, “Connecting Every American: The Future of Rural Broadband Funding.”

The Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) and its future dominated the conversation. In her testimony and responses, Sara eloquently emphasized the importance of the ACP and the impact it has had on her mostly rural region – Buncombe, Henderson, Madison, and Transylvania counties in western North Carolina. 

“Poverty is everywhere, but higher in rural America,” she said in her opening statement. “In our region, the reason most people can’t adopt service is due to lack of affordability. This impacts more households than lack of infrastructure alone.” She continued, encouraging the House to renew funding for ACP, saying “ACP has been an important part of the solution” in rural North Carolina.

A range of other topics emerged, including digital equity, broadband deployment, how the Universal Service Fund (USF) might be reformed, and how existing broadband programs might be aligned across the federal government. Sara also highlighted the importance of prioritizing fiber as a sustainable infrastructure solution. 

You can read Sara’s full testimony and watch her testimony

The team at NDIA is so proud and grateful to have supported Sara in this process and to have amazing affiliates like Land of Sky, who are willing to share their experiences and expertise with lawmakers at the highest level. 

NDIA wouldn’t be who we are, and this movement wouldn’t be where it is without local leaders like Sara and digital inclusion affiliates like Land of Sky.