$24.9 million announced for high-speed internet projects in Bladen, Columbus and Sampson Counties


North Carolina Construction News staff writer

Star Telephone Membership Corporation will receive $24.9 million from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to connect rural residents, businesses and farmers in Bladen, Columbus and Sampson counties to high-speed internet.

The ReConnect Program grant, funded by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, will connect 2,674 people, 84 businesses, 117 farms and four educational facilities in these counties. In June, North Carolina was awarded more than $1.5 billion to fund high-speed internet infrastructure.

“This funding, combined with the BEAD allocation our state has already received, will go a long way in helping us close the digital divide in North Carolina and ensuring everyone has access to high-speed internet,” Gov. Roy Cooper said in a sttement. “We thank our federal partners for their continued investment in our state as we work diligently to connect all our communities.”

Applicants for ReConnect Program funding must serve a rural area that lacks access to service at speeds of 100 megabits per second (Mbps) download and 20 Mbps upload. They must also commit to building facilities capable of providing high-speed internet service with speeds of 100 Mbps (download and upload) to every location in the proposed service area.

Governor Cooper has also prioritized a major expansion of high-speed internet that can bring telehealth to areas that lack in-person medical providers, including over $340 million in GREAT grants that have been awarded to bring high-speed internet to 139,599 households and 4,447 businesses across the state.

To learn more, visit ncbroadband.gov.


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