Rural broadband incentive announced

Published 7:30 am Sunday, November 18, 2018

North Carolina’s new Growing Rural Economies with Access to Technology (GREAT) grant program was launched Nov. 1.  The program allows internet service providers and electric membership cooperatives to compete for funding to lower financial barriers that prevent broadband expansion in rural communities.

The $10 million grant program was authorized by the North Carolina General Assembly and is administered by the NC Broadband Infrastructure Office.

Eligible areas are census blocks or portions of census blocks in Tier One counties that lack access to a service providing a minimum of 10 megabits per second download and one megabit per second upload speeds.

The state classifies the 40 most economically distressed counties in the state as Tier One counties. All northeastern counties except Currituck and Dare are Tier One counties.

“We expect to see some great ideas for meaningful broadband expansion in these areas,” said Eric Boyette, Secretary of the North Carolina Department of Information Technology. “This is an important step toward ensuring that our children are equipped to complete homework assignments and that small business owners are poised for growth.”