Robeson County, North Carolina – September 13, 2023 – FOCUS Broadband has announced the completion of its Community Connect fiber optic broadband initiative in Robeson County, serving residents in the Howellsville, Tolarsville, and Barker Ten Mile communities. This project was made possible through a $2.9 million Community Connect grant awarded to the company by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) in December of 2021. With this project’s completion, over 1,200 homes and businesses in these communities can now access high-speed internet service.
Residents and businesses in these communities are already enjoying the benefits of gigabit-speed fiber optic internet. As part of the Community Connect project, FOCUS Broadband has established free Wi-Fi access at the Barker Ten Mile Community Center, which is equipped with computers and printers, providing a valuable resource for residents to browse the internet, apply for jobs, or work on homework.
“We are thrilled to have successfully completed this USDA-funded broadband project, and to deliver an essential service to these communities,” stated FOCUS Broadband CEO, Keith Holden. “We extend our gratitude to the USDA for their ongoing support of critical broadband initiatives, including the Community Connect grant that made this project possible. Additionally, we are grateful for the continued collaboration and support from the Robeson County government and local officials, who have played a vital role in our efforts to bring high-speed internet to underserved areas in Robeson County.”
This achievement marks the third grant-funded project completed by FOCUS Broadband in Robeson County within the past nine months. Earlier this year, the company completed two grant projects with a total funding of over $4 million from the N.C. Department of Information Technology’s Growing Rural Economies with Access to Technology (GREAT) grant program. Through these initiatives, FOCUS Broadband expanded their high-speed internet service to more than 2,700 addresses near the Proctorville, Orrum, and Marietta communities.
FOCUS Broadband is currently engaged in two additional grant-funded broadband projects in Robeson County. In 2022, the company received a $4 million GREAT Grant to extend high-speed internet service to over 1,800 addresses near the communities of Parkton, Lumber Bridge, and St. Pauls. Additionally, in the same year, FOCUS Broadband was awarded a $24.6 million USDA ReConnect Grant, aimed at providing high-speed internet access to more residents in Robeson and Scotland counties. Once completed, the ReConnect project will serve over 4,000 homes in rural, underserved areas along Singletary Church Road and communities between Rowland, Raemon and Maxton in Robeson County, as well as portions of northern and eastern Scotland County.
FOCUS Broadband 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 service available at no cost. Robeson County households with children enrolled in school may meet program requirements, regardless of income, through the Public Schools of Robeson County’s participation in the federal Free and Reduced-Price School Lunch Program and the School Breakfast Program. For more information regarding eligibility requirements for ACP, please visit www.fcc.gov/acp.
To find out where FOCUS Broadband service is available in Robeson County, visit www.fasterrobeson.com. Residents and businesses interested in signing up for FOCUS Broadband service can call 888-367-2862 to speak to a customer care representative.