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“FOCUS Broadband is excited to receive this grant that will allow us to serve rural Chowan County,” said Keith Holden, FOCUS Broadband CEO. “We’ve worked closely with Chowan County government and their county commissioners over the last two years in hopes that we could help bring high-speed internet to unserved areas. This grant is a critical first step to being able to bring connectivity to many residents and businesses that desperately need it.”
In the announcement, Governor Cooper stated that the N.C. Department of Information Technology’s (NCDIT) Broadband Infrastructure Office received 305 applications, totaling $350 million for this round of GREAT grants. “Reliable and affordable high-speed internet is a necessity for all North Carolinians to work, learn, connect and access online health care,” commented Governor Cooper. “These GREAT grants awards will help thousands more North Carolina families and businesses across the state access high-speed internet and the opportunities it brings.”
The GREAT Grant program was created in 2019 as a way for internet service providers and cooperatives to seek and compete for funding to aid in lowering financial barriers that prevent high-speed internet service expansion. The recently announced grants are part of Governor Cooper’s plan to invest nearly $2 billion in federal and state funds to close the digital divide in North Carolina.
This is FOCUS Broadband’s first grant award in Chowan County, though the cooperative has won more than $12 million dollars in previous GREAT grant rounds to serve southeastern North Carolina. A second GREAT Grant application aimed at serving additional areas near the Cannon Ferry, Welch and Snow Hill communities is still pending, as well as a GREAT grant application for neighboring Perquimans County. The company plans to apply for additional resources through the Completing Access to Broadband (CAB) funds in hopes to further broadband expansion in these counties.
FOCUS Broadband is awaiting details from the NCDIT as to when the 2022 grant funds will be made available to begin work on expanding high-speed internet to Chowan County. To stay up to date on the progress of the grant project, please visit www.fasterchowan.com, or call 888-367-2862.