Broadband funding

NC Broadband Grants

North Carolina provides grant opportunities for communities to receive funding for broadband. As part of a continue snippet series of videos, Representative Jake Johnson discusses the GREAT grant.

The Growing Rural Economies with Access to Technology (GREAT) Program funds the terrestrial deployment of broadband within unserved areas of economically distressed counties. The grants help bring high-speed internet to thousands of North Carolinians, businesses and farms in the most rural and remote areas of the state. These areas include both Tier 1 and Tier 2 counties as well as rural census tracts located in development Tier 3 areas that are currently served by less than 25 megabytes per second download and 3 megabytes per second upload speeds.

The grants are available to private broadband service providers and are designed to connect these areas with broadband as quickly as possible.


The WNC Broadband Project (Project) aims to support communities interested in ensuring access to reliable, truly high-speed internet service.

It develops tools to empower individuals, communities, and area leaders in advocating effectively for their digital needs.

As a community-supported initiative building on the work of West Next Generation Network (WestNGN), it is not owned or controlled by any affiliate of WestNGN.

The WNC Broadband Project is also not financed by any corporate entity, as such financing would be inconsistent with the Project’s independent community engagement focus.

The views, opinions and products of the WNC Broadband Project are the sole responsibility of the Project team and its advisory board, acting in their personal capacity and not in any capacity related to WestNGN, UNC Asheville, or any other WestNGN affiliate.

Broadband access Broadband funding Broadband in WNC Community Development Digital Divide Economic Development Education Federal Efforts Rural

A Conversation on Rural Broadband Internet

A panel of broadband experts, including WNC Broadband Project’s Bill Sederburg, discussed how to embark on a program – either on their own or with partners – to implement broadband infrastructure to benefit residents.


  • Moe Davis | Democratic Nominee 11th Congressional District
  • Danny Bottoms | Vision Cashiers; Public WiFi Project
  • Mike Hawkins | Transylvania County Board of Commissioners Chair
  • Hunter Goosman | ERC Executive Director/CEO
  • William Sederburg, Phd. | WestNGN Chair

Federal and state policy issues were discussed in the ‘Vote for Moe Davis’ YouTube video link below.

DISCLAIMER: The WNC Broadband Project, a Western North Carolina community group; is not connected with the ‘Vote for Moe Davis’ campaign. We advocate for the non-partisan expansion, education, and inclusion of high speed internet in our WNC communities.

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High-Speed Internet for Madison County

In rural North Carolina, French Broad Electric Membership Corporation will use a $3.2 million grant to deploy a fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) network to connect 4,056 people, 189 farms, 64 businesses, and two fire stations to high-speed broadband internet in Madison County.

#ruralbroadband #fibertothepremises #ReConnectProgram

Broadband access Broadband funding Broadband in WNC Digital Divide Education

Divided WNC?

What is a solution to the digital divide?

Digital Inclusion

1) Access to affordable, high-speed Internet.
2) Access to a computer or laptop
3) Digital literacy or skills

#buncombe #digitalliteracy #ruralbroadband #digitalworkplace

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Commute for Internet Access

What does an individual do when broadband is not available to fulfill education, employment, governmental, or other life requirements? Is it your civil right?

Computers, cell phones, broadband, and other electronic resources are expensive and not always readily available. Additionally, the cost of broadband makes it three times more likely that households without internet service can be found in urban, rather than rural areas.

With young people soon returning to school, what is the strategy to make life necessities happen?

Doing Schoolwork in the Parking Lot Is Not a Solution

Support the WNC Broadband Project today with education, advocacy, financial, or other resources to make broadband more accessible in Western North Carolina.

Broadband access Broadband funding Digital Divide Rural

NTIA’s Webinar on Business Models and Solutions for Rural Broadband

NTIA’s BroadbandUSA Program will host a webinar on Business Models and Solutions for Rural Broadband. Here is the description of their webinar program: “Rural service providers continue to deploy broadband solutions and work to close the digital divide,  developing strong local partnerships and sustainable business models. Please join BroadbandUSA for its April webinar on broadband topics of interest, which  features three providers that utilize different technologies to bring broadband solutions to their rural communities. Panelists include an electric co-op from the Virginia Piedmont, an independent telephone company serving rural areas in the Southeast, and a regional cable provider, offering a triple play of video, Internet and voice in the upper Midwest.” To register for this webinar, visit BroadbandUSA’s registration page.

Broadband access Broadband funding Digital Divide Rural

New North Carolina Grant Program to Support Broadband Access and Digital Inclusion

The ReConnect to Technological Opportunity initiative of the Institute for Emerging Issues (IEI) has announced a new grant program, Building a New Digital Economy in NC (BAND-NC).  This program will provide grants of up to $5000 to assist counties across the state in developing plans to improve broadband access and usage in their communities.  As IEI director Leslie Boney points out, “just 59 percent of people with access to broadband are subscribing to it. And with lower rates of adoption in rural counties and among lower income families, if we don’t plan now to include people digitally, those people and their communities will get further and further behind.”  Digital inclusion plans supported by this program will shape strategies to enhance digital literacy, improve broadband affordability, and expand internet use across a range of services.  To learn more, visit WRAL TechWire.

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Solving the Rural Broadband Access Challenge

FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel discusses what needs to happen if we are to solve the complex problem of rural broadband access in this CNET interview. Rosenworcel explains the need for improved broadband access mapping; the importance of high-speed internet for economic development in rural communities; and role of federal subsidies to providers in funding critical rural infrastructure. To learn more, visit CNET.

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USDA Webinar for Rural Broadband Funding

In case you missed the USDA ReConnect Program webinar on funding for rural broadband, Connected Nation–an organization dedicated to broadband access, adoption, and use–is making available a recording of the webinar for interested viewers. The recording will provide an opportunity to learn about how communities can apply to the second round of ReConnect Program funding (a total of $550 million is available); hear from USDA officials how the program works; and get a sense of ways to enhance applications and improve chances of being funded. To learn more about the USDA ReConnect Program, visit Connected Nation.