Gary L Herman
Yadtel/Zirrus has been awarded a $1,049,286.75 GREAT grant (Growing Rural Economies with Access to Technology) to provide broadband service to 305 homes and businesses in Alexander County. The county will provide $185,168.25 in matching dollars using American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds. The North Carolina Department of Information Technology’s (NCDIT) Division of Broadband and Digital Equity made the announcement on Monday, July 18.
The Alexander County Board of Commissioners entered into an agreement with Yadtel/Zirrus in April 2022 to apply for the GREAT grant.
Statewide, nearly 7,000 households and 374 businesses in 12 North Carolina counties are set to receive high-speed internet thanks to more than $23.4 million in grants. The NCDIT Broadband Infrastructure Office has awarded GREAT grants to expand broadband infrastructure in the following counties:
• Alexander County: Yadkin Valley TMC (Yadtel | Zirrus)
• Avery County: Spectrum Southeast, LLC
• Bertie County: Spectrum Southeast, LLC
• Chowan County: ATMC (Focus Broadband)
• Clay County: Blue Ridge Mountain EMC
• Cleveland County: Spectrum Southeast, LLC
• Davidson County: Yadkin Valley TMC (Yadtel | Zirrus)
• Gaston County: Spectrum Southeast, LLC
• Hyde County: Connect Holding II LLC (Brightspeed)
• Lincoln County: Spectrum Southeast, LLC
• New Hanover County: Spectrum Southeast, LLC
• Stanly County: Windstream North Carolina, LLC
“We are excited to partner with Yadtel/Zirrus on this much-needed broadband project and are very appreciative of this grant,” said Ronnie Reese, Chairman of the Alexander County Board of Commissioners. “While we have been working hard to expand broadband service, there are still many areas of the county that are underserved or unserved. This GREAT grant will enhance the quality of life for more than 300 families and businesses. This is just one more way that we’re working hard to move Alexander County forward.”
The grants are part of Governor Roy Cooper’s plan to invest nearly $2 billion in federal and state funds to close the digital divide in North Carolina. The GREAT program provides matching grants to internet service providers and electric membership cooperatives that partner with individual counties to compete for funding to expand high-speed internet service to unserved areas of the state.
“These awards signify the state’s commitment to partnering with internet service providers and counties to ensure North Carolina homes and businesses can participate in the digital economy,” said James Weaver, NCDIT Secretary and State Chief Information Officer. “We are awarding GREAT grants on a rolling basis throughout July and August to expedite the distribution of all these critical funds.”
NCDIT received 305 applications for this $350 million round of GREAT grants, and internet service providers submitted proposals for projects that would serve more than 487,000 N.C. homes and businesses. To be eligible for a grant, all internet service provider applicants must participate in the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), which provides eligible low-income households a $30 per month discount on high-speed internet service or provide access to a comparable low-cost program. Learn more about the ACP and how to get $30 per month reliable, high-speed internet packages offered by internet service providers at www.getinternet.gov.
Applications are scored based on the number of households and businesses they propose to serve, the average cost to serve those locations, and the speeds offered. Applicants must agree to provide high-speed service, defined as a minimum of 100 Megabits per second (Mbps) download and 20 Mbps upload, scalable to 100 Mbps download and 100 Mbps upload on or before Dec. 31, 2026. All awards are contingent on final executed grant agreements with these broadband provider partners.
For more information about the NCDIT Division of Broadband and Digital Equity, visit www.ncbroadband.gov.
Learn more about Yadtel/Zirrus at www.yadtel.com.