Columbus County, NC – December 27, 2023 – FOCUS Broadband has announced the completion of its ReConnect Grant in Columbus County. With the project’s completion, more than 2,750 homes and businesses in rural parts of the county surrounding Tabor City, Hallsboro, Bolton, Lake Waccamaw, and areas north of Whiteville now have access to high-speed fiber optic internet services. This project was made possible through a $7.9 million ReConnect grant awarded to the company by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) in December of 2019. As part of the project, FOCUS Broadband matched the grant funding with an additional $7.9 million for a total investment of nearly $16 million for this project.
To date, FOCUS Broadband has been awarded more than $28 million dollars in state and federal grant funding to make high-speed internet available to over 10,000 homes and businesses in Columbus County. The company has also contributed an additional $15 million dollars in matching funds since 2011.
“We are incredibly grateful to the USDA, the County Board of Commissioners, and the residents of Columbus County for working with us to complete this project. It’s wonderful to see the impact of connecting communities and the importance of having access to such resources as telehealth and eLearning. This is a big win for the residents of Columbus County, and we are pleased to serve you,” said FOCUS Broadband CEO, Keith Holden.
Additionally, Columbus County Commissioner Eddie Madden recently released the following statement, “We are both pleased and excited to see the completion of the USDA ReConnect high speed internet project undertaken by FOCUS Broadband. With funding from USDA, even more Columbus County residents and business owners now have access to high-speed internet which opens the doorway for learning, personal growth, and business development.”
Established in 1955 as a membership cooperative, FOCUS Broadband strives to bring needed communications services to rural areas across 9 counties in southeastern North Carolina. Today, the company is the largest broadband cooperative in North Carolina, and it’s been voted “Best Internet Provider,” and “Best Customer Service,” in the Columbus County People’s Choice Awards.
FOCUS Broadband is currently working on several additional projects within the county to further expand high-speed internet access in areas surrounding Evergreen, Acme-Delco, Riegelwood, and Prosper. This project is estimated to serve more than 1,500 addresses and is utillizing a $4 million-dollar
NCDIT GREAT Grant which was awarded to FOCUS Broadband in 2022. The project is expected to be completed during the 3rd quarter of 2024.
FOCUS Broadband is dedicated to providing affordable options for connectivity and is a participant in the federal government’s Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP). Customers who qualify and sign up for ACP can receive a monthly discount of up to $30 off the price of internet service with some options that make broadband service available at no cost. Columbus County households with children enrolled in public school may meet program requirements, regardless of income, through the Public Schools of Columbus County’s participation in the federal Free and Reduced-Price School Lunch Program and the School Breakfast Program.
To find out where FOCUS Broadband service is available in Columbus County, please visit www.fasterColumbus.com. Residents and Businesses interested in signing up for FOCUS Broadband service can call 888-367-2862 to speak with a customer care representative.