Digital Divide

The Divide: How Wave 7 is connecting Enfield, North Carolina, with community broadband

This episode features LaShawn Williamson, founder and CEO at Wave 7 Communications, and Brian Vo, chief investment officer at Connect Humanity, a nonprofit working with communities to advance digital equity.

Wave 7 was launched in 2020 to serve the rural community of Enfield, North Carolina, with wireless, community-led broadband. The company recently received a $350,000 investment from Connect Humanity to support its expansion to 400+ additional rural Enfield homes and beyond.

We discuss how and why Wave 7 got started, and what it takes to start an Internet company from scratch. We also cover why the Wave 7 model is ideal for the town of Enfield, how the company depends on the local community to help deliver broadband and the role Connect Humanity is playing in funding Wave 7 and other community providers.

Here are just a few topics covered in this episode:

  • How LaShawn Williamson launched Wave 7 with help from "YouTube University" (3:22)
  • How Connect Humanity helps communities get access to capital (6:50)
  • Why Enfield needed Wave 7, and what role Connect Humanity is playing in its network expansion (9:50)
  • Why Wave 7 uses a pay-as-you-go model (13:15)
  • How Wave 7's relay process relies on "neighbors providing Internet to neighbors" (19:12)
  • Wave 7's challenges being seen as "viable" (21:45)
  • Upcoming projects from Connect Humanity (22:50)
  • Wave 7's growth plans (24:46)

Related stories and links:

Nicole Ferraro, editor, Light Reading, and host of "The Divide" podcast.

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