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How Fiber Broadband Serves Rural America

How Fiber Broadband Serves Rural America

Your neighbors at FOCUS Broadband understand that rural communities are a quintessential part of the American experience. And millions of Americans know that the friendly people and charms of country life make rural areas ideal places to raise a family. Over the last few years, hundreds of thousands of people have relocated from large cities to the cleaner air and country lifestyle rural North Carolina offers.

But compared to urban and suburban portions of the country, rural North Carolina still lags well behind in one fundamental area—consistent access to high-speed broadband fiber internet service. And this lagging access can affect job growth, economic development, workforce retention, and even education and community health.

The Value of Fiber Broadband—and Rural America’s Need to Catch-up

According to a 2019 study by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), 18 million rural Americans lack access to high-speed broadband internet. Other estimates from respected sources put the number at over 40 million Americans. Thus, unfortunately, there are underserved people and businesses in small towns across the country and in every region.

Rural broadband internet is critical to bridging that opportunity gap and improving country living. Whole communities can be revitalized and invigorated with fiber internet technology, improving communications and connectivity to the global economy. Schools of all grade levels through technical colleges and trade schools, as well as universities, can provide more programs, services, and training through broadband, reaching more people and promoting rural development.

Indeed, broadband high-speed internet is an essential community service in the twenty-first century as electricity, telephone or even water and other utilities! And FOCUS Broadband is proud to be a part of revitalizing our community and rural North Carolina by providing, fast, reliable fiber broadband internet to its people and businesses.

Since 2019, FOCUS Broadband has won eight of North Carolina’s Growing Rural Economies with Access to Technology (GREAT) Grants, the most of any provider, two USDA ReConnect Grants and a USDA Community Connect Grant. The total investment in rural internet service by FOCUS Broadband equals almost $70 million dollars and will allow the company to bring multi-gigabit high-speed internet service to more than 18,000 households and businesses in rural communities across the southeastern corner of North Carolina.

In addition to its work to expand services into rural areas of North Carolina, in 2021 FOCUS Broadband announced a self-funded $100 million-dollar multi-year project that will connect all its Brunswick County customers to a state-of-the-art fiber-optic broadband network.

Below are just some of the ways fiber broadband serves rural North Carolina and helps make it an even better place to live.

Faster and More Reliable Internet Means Greater Economic Growth and More Jobs

Increased access to high-speed internet, such as the fiber internet provided by FOCUS Broadband is linked to boosting local job opportunities and economic growth. Through reliable broadband, local businesses like farms and artisans can reach customers well beyond their communities—even around the world.

And high-speed internet lets these rural businesses more readily access goods and services that their competitors in larger metropolitan areas can already easily access. So, bridging the broadband divide also helps grow and diversify the supply chain and squelch the overall economic gap between urban and rural areas, too.

Additionally, rural broadband helps keep younger talent in their communities, rather than seeing them move away to larger cities. Because so many of today’s careers require access to reliable internet to conduct business, companies can—and do—hire talented people around the country and let them work where they already live, including remotely from home—if there is a reliable, fast internet connection. In this way, rural high-speed internet helps keep communities together and whole.

Relocation, Relocation, Relocation: Broadband Helps Turn Around Rural Communities

The flight of younger people from rural America is not a new story. It’s been happening for over a century, as bright and industrious students and workers seek to build their careers “where the jobs are”—i.e., in cities and metropolitan areas.

Rural broadband is helping reverse that trend, however, through a more recent economic and social phenomenon: relocation.

Relocation is centered on the idea that in today’s innovative economy, just about anyone can live and work from just about anywhere—anywhere there is reliable high-speed internet, that is. So, for the millions of Americans yearning for the virtues of rural country living and its high quality of life, communities with rural broadband offer options for relocation to a town or community from which to work, raise their families, and live their lives.

And relocation, through broadband internet service and other economic enticements, helps recruit talented younger people and reinvigorate communities that have been slowly dwindling. In essence, relocation is the reverse of the trend of moving away from rural areas—with broadband, people are now choosing to relocate and settle in rural areas in North Carolina!

At FOCUS Broadband, we believe that Brunswick, Pender, Columbus, Robeson & Duplin Counties are truly special places to live and work. And we are honored that our cutting-edge fiber broadband technology is expanding our community’s horizons and helping its people and small businesses realize their dreams and thrive in the decades to come.

To learn more about how FOCUS Broadband’s high-speed fiber internet enriches your community and helps make you more productive, follow our social pages!

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