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The Board of Commissioners of Orange County, N.C. voted unanimously this week to enter a public-private partnership with NorthState Communications to bring fiber Internet services to about 28,000 locations in the county, many of which that have poor or no Internet service.

Orange County will use funding from the American Rescue Plan Act to connect almost 10,000 of these locations . NorthState will provide additional funding to reach the other 18,000 locations.

The service provider says that work will begin on the project within weeks. Approximately 990 miles of fiber will be installed, with service becoming available to some areas in the spring of 2023. The all-fiber network will offer symmetrical speeds of almost 2 Gbps.

Under the partnership, NorthState will provide fiber Internet service to about 24 county-owned anchor institutions. These include fire stations, EMS facilities and community centers.

“Orange County is a key part of NorthState’s commitment to empowering communities with 100% fiber-to-the-home access,” NorthState CEO Diego Anderson said in a press release about the NorthState public-private partnership. “And we’re just getting started. NorthState is actively looking for opportunities to partner with communities to bring ultra-high-speed fiber internet to additional areas.”

NorthState provides services to almost 200,000 homes and business in North Carolina and Virginia. It operates under the Lumos brand in Virginia.

This is the second announcement NorthState has made in North Carolina this year. In early February, the company said that it will expand into Alamance, Guilford, Orange and Wayne counties. About 39,000 addresses will be served in the towns of Burlington, Gibsonville, Elon, Whitsett, Mebane and others. About 14,000 addresses in the city of Goldsboro also will be served.

In December 2021, NorthState said that its construction schedule for the Piedmont region of North Carolina had accelerated with the addition of 48,000 addresses by the end of 2022. The expansion areas are Greensboro, Kernersville, Oak Ridge, Walkertown, High Point, Thomasville and Randleman. Some areas were slated to begin getting services in March.

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