Raleigh, NC – Governor Roy Cooper announced yesterday that two CarolinaLink members, ATMC and Star Communications, were two of 11 recipients to receive funding through the 2020 Special Supplementary Round of the Growing Rural Economies through Access to Technology (GREAT) Grant Program.
ATMC was awarded four grants totaling $7.8 million dollars that will be used to expand high-speed internet service to more than 5,000 addresses in portions of Brunswick, Columbus, Duplin and Robeson Counties. Star Communications was awarded $3.2 million to provide high-speed internet service to more than 1,900 addresses in areas of Bladen and Sampson Counties. The cooperatives will invest a total of $4.7 million in matching funds for these projects.
“Congratulations to our member cooperatives ATMC and Star Communications for receiving these awards through the NC GREAT Grant Program,” commented Dwight Allen, Executive Vice President for CarolinaLink. “Our member companies work hard to provide much needed access to broadband in rural communities across the state.”
In addition to the awards won by ATMC and Star Communications, Carolinalink Member, SkyLine Membership Corporation partnered with Blue Ridge Energy, the electric membership cooperative serving northwest North Carolina, to win a grant which will bring fiber optic broadband service to an estimated 400 homes in northern Caldwell County.
The Governor’s office along with the NC Department of Information Technology introduced the GREAT grant program in 2019 as a way for internet service providers and cooperatives to seek and compete for funding to aid in lowering financial barriers that prevent high speed internet service expansion in unserved Tier 1 counties. Funds for this special supplementary round were made available for projects in Tier 1, Tier 2 and rural census tracts of Tier 3 counties.
In the grant announcement press release, Governor Cooper commented, "This pandemic is shining a light on the need for better high speed internet access in rural communities. These projects will the make sure the internet can connect people to the education, health care and jobs they need.”
Over the past 18 months, CarolinaLink members have won $76.7 million in state and federal grants to expand broadband to almost 40,000 unserved households in rural areas across the state. CarolinaLink members will invest over $30 million in matching funds to these projects.
CarolinaLink is made up of North Carolina’s seven broadband membership cooperatives who provide advanced technology services to many of the state’s most rural areas. The seven cooperative members include ATMC, Randolph Communications, Riverstreet Networks, Skyline/Skybest, Star Communications, Surry Communications and Yadtel. Coalition members serve over 150,000 rural homes and businesses in North Carolina and are committed to providing broadband to rural communities throughout the state.
For more information about CarolinaLink and their members, visit www.carolinalink.org.
CarolinaLink is a political advocacy group for the North Carolina Broadband Cooperative Coalition (NCBCC). NCBCC is made up of the North Carolina’s seven Broadband Membership Cooperatives, who together provide advanced technology services to many of the state’s most rural areas. Through CarolinaLink these companies advocate for public policy goals which improve the lives of North Carolinians living in rural areas, such as ensuring access to state-of-the-art communications services at reasonable prices, whatever their address. CarolinaLink member companies include ATMC, Randolph Communications, RiverStreet Networks, Skyline/Skybest, Star Communications, Surry Communications and Yadtel. For more information about CarolinaLink, visit carolinalink.org.
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