North Carolina Flag

This week, North Carolina awarded $86 million to help bring broadband to almost 26,000 homes and businesses in 19 counties. Nine broadband providers will receive funding, contributing $26 million of their own funds. This is the third announcement of North Carolina broadband funding in the last three weeks.

Among the awardees in the latest funding news were four large providers: AT&T, Brightspeed, Charter, and Windstream. Also among the awardees were four local providers: BalsamWest, Roanoke Cooperative, Skyrunner Internet, and Star Communications. In addition, Zito Media, which operates in several states, won funding.

BalsamWest is a CLEC serving the West Carolina region with both fiber and fixed wireless internet.

Roanoke Cooperative is an electric utility provider offering fiber through their subsidiary Fybe. Beginning with fixed wireless internet in 2018, the company committed to deploying fiber as of 2021.

Star Communications is a nonprofit cooperative offering fiber internet. It formed in 1959 when two smaller cooperatives merged into one.

Skyrunner, founded in 1997, offers fixed wireless and fiber internet in the Carolinas and Tennessee. 

The awards were made by the North Carolina Department of Information Technology (NCDIT) Division of Broadband and Digital Equity. Of the $86 million awarded, $61 million came through the federal American Rescue Plan Act and $25 million came from the counties.

The funding is expected to make broadband at symmetrical 100 Mbps speeds available to 25,903 households and businesses.

The awards were made through the state’s Completing Access to Broadband program. NCDIT did not break down how much funding each provider would receive, but instead broke it down by county:

  • The biggest winners, measured by number of counties for which they won funding, were Brightspeed and Charter. Brightspeed won funding for eight counties, and Charter won funding for seven counties. (In some cases, funding for a county is awarded to more than one provider.)
  • AT&T won founding for three counties.
  • Six providers—BalsamWest, Roanoke Cooperative, Skyrunner, StarVision, Windstream, and Zito Media—each won funding for one county.

Brightspeed issued a press release stating that its awards in this round total $29.3 million.

The other recent North Carolina broadband funding announcements were issued on June 17 and June 21.

Additional information about North Carolina broadband, including links to state funding resources, state specific Telecompetitor coverage, awards made and more, can be found on the Telecompetitor Broadband Nation webpage for the state.

Updated with information from Brightspeed

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