Raleigh, NC – Members of the North Carolina Broadband Cooperative Coalition (CarolinaLink) continue their work to bring high-speed internet to rural areas of the state by applying for more than $120 million dollars in grant funding through the Growing Rural Economies with Access to Technology (GREAT) Program.
The North Carolina Department of Information Technology (NCDIT) manages the GREAT Grant Program in order to facilitate the deployment of broadband service to areas of the state that are currently unserved or underserved. This year, the GREAT Grant Program plans to award up to $350 million in grants from federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds.
Six of the seven CarolinaLink broadband companies submitted applications either through the cooperative or a subsidiary in the NC GREAT Grant Program in hopes to serve over 30,500 households in rural counties across North Carolina. FOCUS Broadband (formerly ATMC), Randolph Communications, RiverStreet Networks, Star Communications, Surry Communications, and Zirrus (formerly Yadtel) applied for a total of $120,012,650 million dollars in projects that would touch 26 counties across the state.
“For nearly seven decades, CarolinaLink members have had a common goal of providing vital communications services to our state’s unserved communities,” commented Dwight Allen, Executive Vice President of CarolinaLink. “The funding from the NC GREAT Grant Program could allow our cooperatives to expand their fiber optic services to thousands of families and businesses who desperately need access to fast and reliable internet.”
As part of the program, companies who are awarded a grant are required to provide matching funds. The matching amounts are dependent on several factors determined by each company’s grant applications. All GREAT Grant applications were submitted by May 4th for review and the NCDIT plans to announce winners later this year.
The NCDIT has offered funding through the GREAT Grant Program since 2019. CarolinaLink members have collectively won more than $16 million through the state’s broadband grant program to expand rural broadband service.
CarolinaLink members currently serve over 150,000 rural homes and businesses in North Carolina and are committed to expanding rural broadband 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.
For more information about CarolinaLink and their members, visit www.carolinalink.org.