CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Spectrum has announced it has been awarded a North Carolina Growing Rural Economies with Access to Technology (GREAT) Program grant of more than $2.3 million to bring gigabit high-speed internet access to nearly 570 homes and small businesses in Jones County.
Combined with the state grant of $2.3 million, total project investment, including nearly $1 million from Spectrum, is $3.3 million.
The GREAT grant is one of 20 already awarded to Spectrum to expand fiber-optic broadband infrastructure to areas of the state that currently lack access to high-speed connections. The company is awaiting review of 41 additional GREAT proposals that, if awarded, would bring broadband to an additional 57,000 homes and small businesses in 41 counties across North Carolina, which has the second-largest rural population of any state.
“All North Carolina communities, families and businesses need access to reliable and affordable high-speed internet,” said North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper. “This round of grants means more North Carolinians will be able to take advantage of opportunities to learn, work, access health care and connect to the world.”
“In rural areas, especially in my district in Eastern North Carolina, connection to reliable high-speed internet service is critical to attracting and retaining businesses, improving health care access and ensuring that our children are not left behind in the digital age,” said state Rep. Chris Humphrey. “I’m pleased that Spectrum will be providing high-speed internet access to more homes and businesses in Jones County.”
Spectrum is already North Carolina’s largest broadband provider, serving 2.8 million customers and employing nearly 11,000 residents in the state.
“Gov. Cooper, his administration and the North Carolina Legislature have shown tremendous leadership in embracing public-private partnerships as a vital strategy for connecting unserved communities,” said Brian Gregory, Vice President of Government Affairs at Charter. “We applaud Jones County officials for contributing to this project to make a meaningful difference for residents.”
“We also commend the Legislature and Cooper administration for their support of a $100 million utility pole replacement fund as part of the state’s broadband strategy, which is paying off with significant interest and investment. In all, Spectrum proposed 60 broadband projects across 60 counties and $190 million in investment, thanks to the positive regulatory climate and investment in pole infrastructure.”
“The state’s grant announcement is exciting news for Jones County where hundreds of residents still do not have high-speed internet access at home,” noted Jones County Manager Kyle Smith. “Spectrum has been a steadfast partner in communities across North Carolina, and their network expansion will bring exciting opportunity to our communities.”
GREAT Program grants further expand Spectrum’s rural construction initiative, the centerpiece of which is the company’s approximately $5 billion investment in unserved rural communities, which includes more than $1 billion won in the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) auction. The company’s RDOF expansion will provide broadband access to approximately 1 million customer locations as estimated by the FCC across 24 states — including more than 125,000 locations in North Carolina — in the coming years. Combined, Spectrum’s GREAT Program grant and RDOF buildouts in Jones County will connect 2,152 homes and small businesses.