Duplin County, NC – FOCUS Broadband announced today that they are partnering with Four County Electric Membership Corporation (EMC) to bring fiber-optic delivered high-speed internet service to unserved portions of Duplin County. Through the agreement, a portion of Four County EMC’s 295-mile fiber-optic network will be used to link FOCUS Broadband’s existing fiber-optic network in Columbus County to a new fiber-optic network currently under construction in Duplin County.
“This partnership is an example of cooperatives coming together and demonstrating their dedication to two cooperative principles: cooperation among cooperatives and concern for community, to improve the quality of life for our members in Duplin County,” commented Don Gatton, Four County EMC CEO. This cooperation eliminates the need for FOCUS Broadband to build 60 miles of infrastructure, greatly reducing the amount of time needed to begin turning up service to customers in Duplin County.
In August of 2020, FOCUS Broadband was awarded $1.2 million dollars through the North Carolina’s Growing Rural Economies through Access to Technology (GREAT) Grant Program to expand high-speed internet service to more than 400 homes in communities west of Magnolia, Rose Hill and Teachey in rural Duplin County. Later that year, FOCUS Broadband received another $1.3 million in grant funds that will be used to expand service to an additional 625 addresses in communities east of Magnolia, Rose Hill and Teachey. FOCUS Broadband will also provide $1.8 million dollars in matching funds to complete these projects.
“We are thankful for Four County EMC’s assistance to help us bring fiber-optic delivered gigabit broadband service to over 1,000 homes in rural Duplin County,” commented Keith Holden, FOCUS Broadband CEO. “Many of the homes we will soon be serving in Duplin County are also Four County EMC cooperative members. By allowing us access to their fiber network, Four County EMC is playing a big role in bringing internet to their members.”
FOCUS Broadband is expected to begin offering high-speed internet service to its first group of Duplin County residents by the end of July. Additional areas will continue to come online as construction is completed. For more information on FOCUS Broadband’s progress in Duplin County, visit www.fasterduplin.com.
FOCUS Broadband is also partnering with Duplin County Government to seek additional grant funds that can be used to bring high-speed internet to more unserved areas of Duplin County. The company expects to find out whether those grant funds will be awarded in the fall of this year.
About FOCUS Broadband
FOCUS Broadband is a member-owned cooperative providing a multitude of communications services, including telephone, business services, wireless, broadband internet, cable television, and home security, in Brunswick County, North Carolina. FOCUS Broadband provides services in additional areas through its wholly owned subsidiary, FOCUS BROADBAND, LLC. FOCUS Broadband is the largest communications cooperative in North Carolina and one of the largest in the country. For more information on products and services from FOCUS Broadband, visit www.focusbroadband.com.
About Four County Electric
Four County EMC serves members throughout Bladen, Duplin, Pender, Sampson, Columbus and Onslow Counties by delivering electricity to approximately 34,000 meters. For more information about the electric cooperative, visit www.fourcty.org.