North Carolina

Focus Broadband has completed the final stages of a project in Brunswick County, NC. Residents and businesses in the communities of Northwest and Sandy Creek now can access gigabit speed service, the company said.

Focus Broadband was awarded $1.4 million to provide high speed Internet to more than 1,000 addresses in Brunswick County in North Carolina’s special supplementary round of Growing Rural Economies through Access to Technology (GREAT) program. The program is administered by the state’s department of information technology (DIT).

Focus was formerly known as ATMC but rebranded itself last year.

“This was the first time we were able to secure grant funding for unserved portions of Brunswick County that fell outside of our cooperative service area,” Focus Broadband CEO Keith Holden said in a press release. “We are very appreciative to the NC DIT and Governor Cooper for making these funds available that allowed us to expand our service to these rural areas of the county.”

Investments clearly are being made in The Tar Heel State. Last September, the state introduced a digital $24 million digital equity program. Its goal is to help North Carolinians afford high speed Internet, get devices and access digital literacy resources. It is administered by the state’s Department of Information Technology’s Office of Digital Equity and Literacy. Plans were for it to support digital equity programs administered by state agencies using funding from the American Rescue Plan Act.

On August 31 of 2022 – just before the digital equity program announcement – the GREAT program announced grants of more than $206 million. The funding was to bring broadband access to almost 85,000 households and more than 2,400 businesses in 69 counties in the state.

That funding was on top of $30.8 million announced earlier that month (for almost 13,000 households and 582 businesses) and $23.4 million (for almost 7,000 households and 374 businesses in 12 counties) announced in July.

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