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Anna Tapp, Dr. Rick Bunch, Alex Sinykin and Matt Catanzarite (pictured left to right) spent much of 2010 in rural North Carolina developing a wireless propagation model that could lead to increased mobile and Internet services for residents who have been without vital technology resources.
The Center for Geographic Information Science looks to extend mobile and internet service into rural North Carolina
Rick Bunch, director of the Center for Geographic Information Science, is leading a team that hopes to pave the way for extending mobile and internet services into areas of rural North Carolina. While broadband internet access has flourished in the population centers of the nation, it has been slow to reach rural areas because there are often not enough potential subscribers to make it worthwhile for media companies to expand their networks into potentially challenging geographic areas. Rural North Carolina, in particular, teems with interference, from mountains and tree cover to textured landscapes and large buildings that can block or obscure the signal. Bunch and his team, using Geographic Information Systems (GIS), mathematical models and field research, spent all of 2010 doing what few other states, if any, have done: mapping the existing wireless cloud and creating a wireless propagation model. Their work could result in broadband internet access for regions that, without it, are at an economic disadvantage.
The federal government allocated a portion of the 2009 American Recovery and ReInvestment Act to expand broadband internet access to rural areas. In North Carolina, the funding is received by the e-NC Authority, which is currently supporting Bunch's work.