Access to high-speed internet could be easier for some Buncombe County families in the near future. On Aug. 31, Governor Roy Cooper announced that nearly 85,000 households and more than 2,400 businesses in 69 counties are set to receive access to high-speed internet thanks to more than $206 million of Growing Rural Economies with Access to Technology (GREAT) grants.
Internet service provider Frontier Communications was awarded $3.3M to expand internet service to nearly 1,000 unserved and underserved households in Buncombe County. While final agreements are still under development, this project will benefit residents in the northern Buncombe County coverage area. “I am proud that our Buncombe Commissioners have prioritized high speed fiber broadband,” notes District 1 Commissioner Terri Wells. “With this NC GREAT grant announcement, we continue to connect our residents to this 21st century resource. I am excited for the many residents in North Buncombe who will soon have high-speed fiber internet from Frontier, and I hope we will receive word of an additional project this fall to benefit residents in other areas of the county. We are dedicated to connecting Buncombe, and we will continue to work with our state partners to leverage funding.”
In a recent press release Governor Cooper shared, “High-speed internet access is critical for people to work, learn, access telehealth, and connect with one another. Thanks to this significant GREAT grant award funding, many more North Carolina families and small business owners will have the tools they need to succeed in today’s digital world.”
Buncombe County is continuing to work with providers and the State to reach additional households and more details will be available soon about additional GREAT and Completing Access to Broadband awards that will be used to match funds allocated during the ARPA process.
As part of the GREAT grant eligibility requirements, all internet service provider applicants must be participating 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 $30 per month reliable, high-speed internet packages offered by internet service providers at getinternet.gov. Having trouble access broadband? Please complete the broadband survey here: https://www.ncbroadband.gov/north-carolina-broadband-survey