Grant funds would expand rural broadband

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Up to $2 million available for state’s Tier 1 counties

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BAKERSVILLE – Country Cablevision is at least one internet provider that will apply for a state grant for rural broadband expansion.

Mitchell County Economic Development Commission Director Mickey Duvall announced the news Friday, Jan. 24, during the regular meeting of the EDC Board of Directors. 

Keith Conover was originally slated to give a broadband update, but he could not attend due to illness. Instead, Duvall summarized Conover’s report, which was mainly focused on Country Cablevision’s decision to apply for the grant, which is open to Tier 1 counties in North Carolina.

Several other internet providers are also expected to apply for the grant, Duvall said. 

There are 40 Tier 1 counties eligible for the grant, which Duvall said could total as much as $2 million. 

The grant would allow Country Cablevision to expand its services into more areas, allowing it to provide previously unserved customers with service carrying an estimated 10-megabytes-per-second download speed and one-megabyte-per-second upload speed. 

“That would be a whole lot better than what a lot of folks have at the present time,” Duvall said. 

The state grant comes with one main caveat – the state money can’t be spent in areas where the grant recipient already spends federal aid money. 

“You can’t go back and spend state money in those same areas,” Duvall said. “Country Cablevision would have to identify those federally-funded areas.”