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Boost Given To Rural NC Broadband Expansion

By Staff Reports, posted Aug 19, 2011

The Golden LEAF Rural Broadband Initiative held a “virtual groundbreaking” August 12 to launch the $104 million second phase of its project to increase broadband Internet access in rural North Carolina.

The high-definition simulcast event was hosted at Asheville-Buncombe Tech Community College, Elizabeth City State University, the North Carolina Research Campus in Kannapolis, and UNC Pembroke.

The GLRBI is funded through grants from U.S. Department of Commerce’s Broadband Technology Opportunities Program and significant matching funds from private donations and investments, including a $24 million investment from the Golden LEAF Foundation.

In total, the initiative will invest $144 million in broadband services for rural communities. It will add 1,620 miles of fiber-optic cable in 79 of the state’s 100 counties. All work on the project is expected to be completed by 2013.

“This investment lays the groundwork for sustainable long-term growth,” said Lawrence Strickling, administrator of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration. “Broadband is the platform for bringing jobs of the future to North Carolina.”

To date, contracts awarded for the second phase of the project have gone to CommScope for fiber-optic cable and materials; Edwards Telecommunications, Fiber Technologies, and Globe Communications for construction and fiber installation, and Kimley-Horn & Associates for engineering design, project planning, and related services.

You can follow the progress of the GLRBI at www.twitter.com/GLRBI or www.facebook.com/GLRBI.

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