Telecommunications Carriers Extending Broadband To Underserved North Carolina Communities
Raleigh, N.C. North Carolina consumers in less populated areas will receive quicker broadband service thanks, in part, to the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) Connect America Fund (CAF) and participation from four broadband service provider partners.
"This is welcome news to families and companies in North Carolina seeking fast and reliable connections to the global economy, educational resources and healthcare services via broadband Internet," said Governor Pat McCrory. "We look forward to every North Carolinian enjoying the option of high-speed access to the digital world."
More than $19 million in annual funding during the next six years will help with the buildout of broadband service. AT&T, CenturyLink, Frontier Communications and Windstream Communications will each receive funding to provide service across North Carolina to more than 68,000 businesses and households currently unserved or underserved with broadband. In return, each carrier must meet annual milestones and complete the build-out by the end of 2020.
"Broadband connects North Carolina businesses to customers, suppliers, employees and partners in a way that boosts the competitive position of the entire state," said N.C. Commerce Secretary John E. Skvarla, III. "It also enhances the ability of governments to serve citizens, educators to teach students, and health providers to treat patients."
Since 2011, the FCC has been working to transform some of its traditional voice programs, such as the Universal Service Fund, to include broadband. Under this phase of the CAF program, the FCC defines broadband as connections offering download speeds of 10 megabits per second (Mbps) or higher and 1 Mbps or higher upload speeds.
"It's exciting to see North Carolina's telecommunications carriers moving aggressively to provide higher quality broadband service to citizens in some of the state's less populated areas," said Chris Estes, State's Chief Information Officer. "This is a critical piece of infrastructure for companies, communities and people."
The CAF was developed to ensure broadband build out in sparsely-populated areas across the country. CAF funds are derived from payments into the federal Universal Service Fund by telecommunications carriers and are based on carriers' revenues.
Nationally, this phase of CAF will provide more than $1.5 billion in funding to connect nearly 7.3 million Americans currently lacking broadband service.
To see the areas eligible for funding, please visit the FCC's Connect America Phase II Final Eligible Areas Map.