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Area Counties To Receive High Speed Internet Due To State Grants

Nearly 7,000 households and 374 businesses in 12 North Carolina counties are set to receive high-speed internet thanks to more than $23.4 million in grants, Governor Roy Cooper announced Monday (July 18). Those counties include three in this region. The N.C. Department of Information Technology’s (NCDIT) Broadband Infrastructure Office has awarded Growing Rural Economies with Access to Technology (GREAT) grants to expand broadband infrastructure in counties including Alexander, Avery, and Lincoln.

The grants are part of Governor Cooper’s plan to invest nearly $2 billion in federal and state funds to close the digital divide in North Carolina. The GREAT program provides matching grants to internet service providers and electric membership cooperatives that partner with individual N.C. counties to compete for funding to expand high-speed internet service to unserved areas of the state.

NCDIT received 305 applications for this $350 million round of GREAT grants, and internet service providers submitted proposals for projects that would serve more than 487,000 N.C. homes and businesses. To be eligible for a grant, all internet service provider applicants must participate in the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), which provides eligible low-income households a $30 per month discount on high-speed internet service, or provide access to a comparable low-cost program. Learn more about the ACP and how to get $30 per month reliable, high-speed internet packages offered by internet service providers at getinternet.gov.

Applications are scored based on the number of households and businesses they propose to serve, the average cost to serve those locations and the speeds offered. Applicants must agree to provide high-speed service, defined as a minimum of 100 Megabits per second (Mbps) download and 20 Mbps upload, scalable to 100 Mbps download and 100 Mbps upload on or before Dec. 31, 2026. All awards are contingent on final executed grant agreements with these broadband provider partners.

For more information about the NCDIT Division of Broadband and Digital Equity, visit https://www.ncbroadband.gov/.