Raleigh, NC – Governor Cooper announced this week that North Carolina Broadband Cooperative Coalition members, FOCUS Broadband and Zirrus, were selected as two of the first five recipients to receive grant awards from the Growing Rural Economies with Access to Technology (GREAT) Program. FOCUS Broadband received a $4 million-dollar grant to serve unserved areas of Chowan County and Zirrus received a total of $3 million in grant funds to serve unserved portions of Alexander and Davidson counties. Combined, these grants will allow these two companies to bring high-speed internet to more than 2,300 underserved homes and businesses.
“We are excited to see FOCUS Broadband and Zirrus included in this first announcement for the GREAT Grant awards,” commented Dwight Allen, Executive Vice President of CarolinaLink. “CarolinaLink members have done an exceptional job leveraging state broadband grants to expand access to rural broadband, we hope to see more award announcements for our members in the coming weeks through this program.”
To date, CarolinaLink members have collectively won more than $25 million through the state’s broadband grant program to expand rural broadband service. Six of the seven CarolinaLink broadband companies submitted applications either through the cooperative or a subsidiary in this year’s NC GREAT Grant Program in hopes to serve nearly 30,000 households in rural counties across North Carolina. FOCUS Broadband, Randolph Communications, RiverStreet Networks, Star Communications, Surry Communications, and Zirrus, applied for a total of $113,432,686 million dollars in projects that would touch 25 counties across the state. Additional GREAT grants are expected to be awarded in the coming weeks.
CarolinaLink members currently serve over 150,000 rural homes and businesses in North Carolina and are committed to expanding broadband service to unserved and underserved communities throughout the state. CarolinaLink members serve residents and businesses in thirty counties throughout the state and employee more than 1,000 North Carolinians.