The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is investing more than $3 million to provide broadband service in unserved and underserved rural areas in North Carolina. This investment is part of the $100 million in grant funding made available for the ReConnect Pilot Program through the CARES Act.
In rural North Carolina, French Broad Electric Membership Corporation will use a $3.2 million grant to deploy a fiber-to-the-premises network to connect 4,056 people, 189 farms, 64 businesses and two fire stations to high-speed broadband internet in Madison County.
“The need for rural broadband has never been more apparent than it is now – as our nation manages the coronavirus national emergency. Access to telehealth services, remote learning for school children, and remote business operations all require access to broadband,” said U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue. “I am so proud of our rural communities who have been working day in and day out, just like they always do, producing the food and fiber America depends on. We need them more than ever during these trying times, and expanding access to this critical infrastructure will help ensure rural America prospers for years to come.”
USDA received 11 Round Two ReConnect Program applications that are eligible for the $100 million Congress allocated to the program through the CARES Act. More investments made possible with these resources will be announced in the coming weeks.