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Cooper Announces $12M Grant For Rural Broadband Internet Projects


North Carolina is investing $12 million in high-speed internet for a number of rural counties around the state to help with unreliable internet that has proven necessary during the coronavirus pandemic, Gov. Roy Cooper said Wednesday. 

The investment will go to 11 rural counties around the state, as matching grants to internet providers to expand service. Cooper says the investment will give high-speed internet to approximately 8,017 households and 254 businesses and community organizations. Cooper says that all residents, including those working from home or kids doing distance learning, need access to the internet.

"Even before this pandemic, expanding high-speed internet access was a top priority for my administration," Cooper said. "Now that we’re living in a socially distant world, reliable internet is more important than ever."

The projects included in the $12 million grant are located in the following counties: Bertie, Columbus, Duplin, Edgecombe, Graham, Greene, Martin, Nash, Robeson, Rockingham, and Swain.

The money comes from the state’s Growing Rural Economies with Access to Tecnology (GREAT) technology grant program, and from the bipartisan COVID-19 Recovery Act that Cooper signed in May. Cooper says another six “last-mile” projects to make broadband connections in four counties -- Columbus, Duplin, Graham, and Swain -- are still under consideration for grant money.

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