Davidson, Stanly counties in on $23 million in state grants for rural internet access

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 20, 2022

RALEIGH — Nearly 7,000 households and 374 businesses in 12 counties are set to receive high-speed internet thanks to more than $23.4 million in grants, Gov. Roy Cooper announced Tuesday. The N.C. Department of Information Technology’s (NCDIT) Broadband Infrastructure Office has awarded Growing Rural Economies with Access to Technology (GREAT) grants to expand broadband infrastructure in:

Alexander County: Yadkin Valley TMC (Yadtel | Zirrus)
Avery County: Spectrum Southeast, LLC
Bertie County: Spectrum Southeast, LLC
Chowan County: ATMC (Focus Broadband)
Clay County: Blue Ridge Mountain EMC
Cleveland County: Spectrum Southeast, LLC
Davidson County: Yadkin Valley TMC (Yadtel | Zirrus)
Gaston County: Spectrum Southeast, LLC
Hyde County: Connect Holding II LLC (Brightspeed)
Lincoln County: Spectrum Southeast, LLC
New Hanover County: Spectrum Southeast, LLC
Stanly County: Windstream North Carolina, LLC

“Reliable and affordable high-speed internet is a necessity for all North Carolinians to work, learn, connect and access online health care,” Cooper said in a news release. “These GREAT grants awards will help thousands more North Carolina families and businesses across the state access high-speed internet and the opportunities it brings.”

The grants are part of Cooper’s plan to invest nearly $2 billion in federal and state funds to close the digital divide in North Carolina. The program provides matching grants to internet service providers and electric membership cooperatives that partner with individual N.C. counties to compete for funding to expand high-speed internet service to unserved areas of the state.

“These awards signify the state’s commitment to partnering with internet service providers and counties to ensure North Carolina homes and businesses can participate in the digital economy,” said NCDIT Secretary and State Chief Information Officer James Weaver. “We are awarding GREAT grants on a rolling basis throughout July and August to expedite the distribution of all these critical funds.”

NCDIT received 305 applications for this $350 million round of GREAT grants, and internet service providers submitted proposals for projects that would serve more than 487,000 N.C. homes and businesses. To be eligible for a grant, all internet service provider applicants must participate in the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), which provides eligible low-income households a $30 per month discount on high-speed internet service, or provide access to a comparable low-cost program. Learn more about the ACP and how to get $30 per month reliable, high-speed internet packages offered by internet service providers at getinternet.gov.

Applications are scored based on the number of households and businesses they propose to serve, the average cost to serve those locations and the speeds offered. Applicants must agree to provide high-speed service, defined as a minimum of 100 Megabits per second (Mbps) download and 20 Mbps upload, scalable to 100 Mbps download and 100 Mbps upload on or before Dec. 31, 2026. All awards are contingent on final executed grant agreements with these broadband provider partners.

For more information about the NCDIT Division of Broadband and Digital Equity, visit https://www.ncbroadband.gov/.