According to Gov. Cooper will receive $206 million in GREAT grants to expand high-speed Internet access in 69 counties | Panda Anku


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Gov. Roy Cooper has announced that nearly 85,000 homes and more than 2,400 businesses in 69 counties will have access to high-speed internet thanks to more than $206 million in GREAT (Growing Rural Economies with Access to Technology) grants.

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This is the state’s largest round of GREAT scholarship grants to date. With this announcement, over $260 million in GREAT grants have been awarded to providers since July 2022. Additional grants are expected to be announced this fall.

“High-speed Internet access is critical for people to work, learn, access telemedicine and connect,” Governor Cooper said. “Thanks to this significant GREAT grant funding, many more North Carolina families and small business owners will have the tools they need to thrive in today’s digital world.”

The Broadband Infrastructure Office of the NC Department of Information Technology (NCDIT), part of the Division of Broadband and Digital Equity, today awarded BIG broadband infrastructure rollout grants to the following ISPs:

  • Alamance County: NC Communications Advanced Serv (Lumos)
  • Ashe County: Connect Holding II LLC (Connect Holding)
  • Beaufort County: Connect Holding II LLC (Connect Holding)
  • Bladen County: ATMC (Focus Broadband)
  • Buncombe County: Carolinas Border Communications (Border)
  • Burke County: Connect Holding II LLC (Connect Holding)
  • Caldwell County: Connect Holding II LLC (Connect Holding)
  • Camden County: Connect Holding II LLC (Connect Holding)
  • Carteret County: Connect Holding II LLC (Connect Holding)
  • Caswell County: Zitel LLC
  • Catawba County: Connect Holding II LLC (Connect Holding)
  • Chatham County: Connect Holding II LLC (Connect Holding)
  • Cherokee County: Blue Ridge Mountain EMV
  • Columbus County: ATMC (Focus Broadband)
  • Craven County: Connect Holding II LLC (Connect Holding)
  • Cumberland County: Connect Holding II LLC (Connect Holding)
  • Currituck County: Connect Holding II LLC (Connect Holding)
  • Dare County: Connect Holding II LLC
  • Duplin County: ATMC (Focus Broadband)
  • Durham County: Carolinas Border Communications (Border)
  • Edgecombe County: Cloudwyze, Inc. (Cloudwyze)
  • Forsyth County: Connect Holding II LLC (Connect Holding)
  • Franklin County: Connect Holding II LLC (Connect Holding)
  • Gates County: Connect Holding II LLC (Connect Holding)
  • Graham County: Zitel LLC
  • Granville County: Connect Holding II LLC (Connect Holding)
  • Greene County: Connect Holding II LLC (Connect Holding)
  • Guilford County: Bellsouth Telecommunications, LLC (AT&T North Carolina)
  • Harnett County: Cloudwyze, Inc. (Cloudwyze)
  • Haywood County: Spectrum Southeast, LLC (Charter Communications dba Spectrum)
  • Henderson County: Acquisition of Cebridge, LP (optimal)
  • Hertford County: Connect Holding II LLC (Connect Holding)
  • Hoke County: ATMC (Focus Broadband)
  • Jackson County: Spectrum Southeast, LLC (Charter Communications dba Spectrum)
  • Johnston County: Cloudwyze, Inc. (Cloudwyze)
  • Jones County: Spectrum Southeast, LLC (Charter Communications dba Spectrum)
  • Lee County: Spectrum Southeast, LLC (Charter Communications dba Spectrum)
  • Macon County: Carolinas Border Communications (Border)
  • Martin County: Cloudwyze, Inc. (Cloudwyze)
  • McDowell County: Spectrum Southeast, LLC (Charter Communications dba Spectrum)
  • Mitchell County: French Broad Electric Membership Corp.
  • Montgomery County: Connect Holding II LLC (Connect Holding)
  • Moore County: Connect Holding II LLC (Connect Holding)
  • Nash County: Cloudwyze, Inc. (Cloudwyze)
  • Northampton County: Zitel LLC
  • Onslow County: Connect Holding II LLC (Connect Holding)
  • Pamlico County: Spectrum Southeast, LLC (Charter Communications dba Spectrum)
  • Pasquotank County: Connect Holding II LLC (Connect Holding)
  • Pender County: ATMC (Focus Broadband)
  • Perquimans County: ATMC (Focus Broadband)
  • Person: Zitel LLC
  • Pitt County: Connect Holding II LLC (Connect Holding)
  • Randolph County: NC Communications Advanced Serv (Lumos)
  • Richmond County: Spectrum Southeast, LLC (Charter Communications dba Spectrum)
  • Robeson County: ATMC (Focus Broadband)
  • Rutherford County: Spectrum Southeast, LLC (Charter Communications dba Spectrum)
  • Sampson County: Connect Holding II LLC (Connect Holding)
  • Scotland County: Spectrum Southeast, LLC (Charter Communications dba Spectrum)
  • County of Surry: Zitel LLC
  • Swain County: Zito West Holding, LLC (Zito Media)
  • Tyrrell County: Connect Holding II LLC
  • Vance County: Connect Holding II LLC (Connect Holding)
  • Wake County: Spectrum Southeast, LLC (Charter Communications dba Spectrum)
  • Warren County: Spectrum Southeast, LLC (Charter Communications dba Spectrum)
  • Washington County: Connect Holding II LLC (Connect Holding)
  • Wayne County: Infinity Link Communications Inc. (InfinityLink)
  • Wilkes County: Connect Holding II LLC (Connect Holding)
  • Wilson County: Connect Holding II LLC (Connect Holding)
  • Yancey County: French Broad Electric Membership Corp

“We are pleased to award this unprecedented amount of funding to bring high-speed Internet access to such a large number of residents and businesses across the state,” said NCDIT Secretary and State Chief Information Officer Jim Weaver. “These funds will go a long way towards closing the digital divide by providing equitable access for both rural and urban communities.”

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The governor made the funding announcement today at the Mebane Public Library along with Nate Denny, NCDIT assistant secretary for broadband and digital equity, and Brian Stading, CEO of Lumos. Lumos, a provider of 100% fiber optic internet, will receive over $7 million in GREAT grants to power more than 2,600 homes and businesses in Alamance and Randolph counties. At the event, the governor watched a demonstration of fiber splicing by Lumos officials.

The GREAT grant program provides grants to ISPs and electrical member cooperatives who may work with individual counties to fund grants to expand high-speed Internet service to unserved and underserved areas of the state. The GREAT grants are in addition to the $23.4 million awarded July 18 and $30.8 million awarded August 1 of the total funding of $350 million for this round.

As part of the GREAT grant eligibility requirements, all ISP applicants must participate in the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), which offers eligible low-income households a $30 per month rebate on high-speed Internet service or access to a comparable low-cost program.

NCDIT received 305 applications for this round of GREAT grants, and ISPs proposed to serve more than 487,000 North Carolina homes and businesses. Applications were evaluated based on the number of homes and businesses they intended to serve, the average cost of serving those locations, and the speeds offered. Applicants must agree to provide high-speed service on or before December 31, 2026, identified as a minimum of 100 megabits per second (Mbps) download and 20 Mbps upload, scalable to 100 Mbps download and 100 Mbps upload, is defined. All awards are subject to finalized grant agreements with broadband provider partners.

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

Learn more about the ACP and $30 per month reliable, high-speed Internet packages offered by ISPs at getinternet.gov.

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This story originally appeared on OBXToday.com. Read more local stories here.

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