Tuesday, September 5, 2023

Governor Cooper Announces First Round of Completing Access to Broadband Awards to Expand Internet Access in 14 Counties

Sep 5, 2023

Governor Roy Cooper today announced the state’s first Completing Access to Broadband (CAB) program awards totaling $22 million that will connect 6,012 households and 164 businesses in 14 counties to high-speed internet. The CAB program, administered by the N.C. Department of Information Technology (NCDIT), complements the state’s Growing Rural Economies with Access to Technology (GREAT) grant program to reach additional unserved areas.

“These awards will help ensure that more North Carolinians can access affordable and reliable high-speed internet to participate in today’s digital world,” said Governor Cooper. “We will continue to collaborate with county leaders and all grantees to close our state’s digital divide.”

The NCDIT Broadband Infrastructure Office, part of the Division of Broadband and Digital Equity, made the following awards, which are contingent upon final, executed grant agreement with broadband provider partners:

  • Alexander County: Spectrum Southeast LLC (Charter Communications)
  • Franklin County: Spectrum Southeast LLC (Charter Communications) 
  • Granville County: Spectrum Southeast LLC (Charter Communications) 
  • Haywood County: Spectrum Southeast LLC (Charter Communications) 
  • Hertford County: Roanoke Connect Holdings (FYBE) 
  • Madison County: Skyrunner Inc.
  • Mitchell County: French Broad Electric Membership Corp. (French Broad Fiber)
  • Onslow County: Spectrum Southeast LLC (Charter Communications)
  • Robeson County: Spectrum Southeast LLC (Charter Communications)
  • Rutherford County: Bellsouth Telecommunications LLC (AT&T)
  • Sampson County: Spectrum Southeast LLC (Charter Communications)
  • Stokes County: Surry Telephone Membership Corp.
  • Vance County: Zitel LLC 
  • Wilkes County: Wilkes Communications Inc.

“We are proud to partner with these 14 counties to make the state’s first CAB awards,” said NCDIT Secretary and State Chief Information Officer Jim Weaver. “This new funding program adds to the ways we are working to provide high-speed internet access across North Carolina.”

Counties may choose to fund internet infrastructure projects not funded by the GREAT grant under the CAB program per N.C. Session Law 2021-180, or they may participate in the NCDIT-administered procurement process in which pre-qualified internet service providers reply to service expansion requests in areas mutually defined by the counties and the division.

These new CAB program awards add to the nearly $348 million in GREAT grants awarded in 2022 and 2023 that are set to connect 144,046 North Carolina households and businesses to high-speed internet. The GREAT grant and CAB programs provide matching grants to internet service providers that may partner with individual North Carolina counties to compete for funding to expand high-speed internet service to unserved and underserved areas of the state.

Like GREAT grant awardees, all CAB program grantees 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.

CAB program applicants must also 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.

For more information about the NCDIT Division of Broadband and Digital Equity and Governor Cooper’s plan to close the digital divide, please visit ncbroadband.gov