The NC Department of Information Technology announced on August 31st that Spectrum Southeast, LLC has been awarded $4,000,000 to deploy broadband services to approximately 1434 households and businesses in Warren County. The required match of the provider is $1,408,229; the county has expressed a willingness to partner with Spectrum in helping to achieve the match.
The Growing Rural Economies with Access to Technology (GREAT) grants are awarded from the federal American Rescue Fund Act State Fiscal Recovery Funds.
In 2021, Spectrum was also awarded a majority of the eligible Census tracts in Warren County through the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) federal reverse auction; this funding supports a build out of a fiber network to eligible areas, covering approximately 2,000 households.
Warren County has worked with Spectrum since the RDOF award was announced in early 2021 to leverage federal dollars and apply for state funding as well. At their December 2021 meeting, the Board of Commissioners reached a consensus giving the County Manager authority to move forward in negotiating a partnership with Spectrum to cover homes that were not a part of the RDOF award. GREAT grant funds and county dollars will assist in supplying the funding necessary to cover these households. Combining these programs will essentially lead to countywide availability of broadband.
Details on a construction timeline and specific household addresses that will be served are in the works. However, both the GREAT grant and RDOF funding outline a set completion time as part of the funding requirements. The GREAT grant program has a two-year construction timeline after all agreements are finalized.
More information on RDOF can be found at https://www.fcc.gov/auction/904. More information on the GREAT grant can be found at https://www.ncbroadband.gov/grants/other-resources/great-grant-state.