Duplin County, NC – Duplin County recently received a $5,000 grant from ATMC through the Building a New Digital Economy in NC (BAND-NC) grant program. The grant funds, won by Duplin County Libraries, will be used to help the county create a digital inclusion plan.
Duplin County will use the grant funds to survey county residents about their internet usage, speed information and provider information. Once survey results are collected, Duplin County Libraries will use the information to create a formal digital inclusion plan that can be used to help expand broadband access, availability, and adoption throughout the county. The digital inclusion plan will also be helpful in attracting internet service providers that can apply for state and federal broadband grants to help expand high-speed internet in unserved and underserved areas.
“We are so grateful for this grant from ATMC and BAND-NC that will allow our team to focus on digital inclusion efforts in Duplin County,” commented Laura Jones, Library Director for Duplin County. “Our goal is to create a plan that pulls together county resources and builds a case for more broadband expansion, especially in the unserved and underserved rural areas of the county.”
Last year, ATMC won two grants totaling $2.5 million dollars through the NC GREAT grant program to expand high-speed internet to unserved and underserved residents and businesses in Duplin County. Through these grants, as well as a matching investment from ATMC, the cooperative will be able to serve more than 1,000 homes in communities east and west of Magnolia, Rose Hill and Teachey with fiber optic services.
“As we work to expand our services in Duplin County through the NC GREAT grant program, we understand the importance of partnering with community stakeholders to make sure all areas of digital inclusion are addressed,” commented Keith Holden, ATMC CEO. “We are proud to help support this BAND-NC grant that will allow the county to pull together resources and holistically address the broadband issues in Duplin County.”
In 2020, ATMC helped fund another BAND-NC grant for Brunswick Senior Resources, Inc. BSRI used the $5,000 to launch virtual fitness classes for seniors in the county during the COVID-19 pandemic. The grant allowed the organization to provide the virtual fitness classes and offer tech support to caregivers and participants.
The BAND-NC program was created by the Institute for Emerging Issues (IEI) in partnership with the NC Broadband Infrastructure Office (BIO), the John M. Belk Endowment, Duke Energy Foundation, Atlantic Telephone Membership Corporation (ATMC), Roanoke Electric Cooperative and the North Carolina Electric Cooperatives. The program is administered by the IEI office at NC State University and is working to help bridge the digital divide in areas of need throughout the state.
Duplin County plans to launch the broadband survey online and by mail before the end of the summer. All residents and businesses are encouraged to participate in the survey. For more information about the survey or digital inclusion plan in Duplin County, contact Laura Jones at 910-296-2117. For more information on the BAND-NC grant program, visit www.iei.ncsu.edu/band-nc.
ATMC is a member-owned cooperative providing a multitude of communications services, including telephone, business services, wireless, broadband internet, cable television, and ATMC Security, in Brunswick County, North Carolina. ATMC provides services in additional areas through its wholly owned subsidiary, ATMC, LLC. ATMC is the largest communications cooperative in North Carolina and one of the largest in the country. For more information on ATMC products and services, visit atmc.com.
About Institute for Emerging Issues
The Institute for Emerging Issues (IEI) at North Carolina State University is a nonpartisan public policy organization focused on the state’s vibrancy and economic competitiveness. Since 1986, the Emerging Issues Forum has attracted leaders in business, education and public policy to discuss issues with profound implications for North Carolina’s future prosperity. For more than three decades, the Forum has helped catalyze the policy reforms, public investments and other proactive responses required to build an enduring capacity for progress in North Carolina.
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