Wilmington-based internet service provider CloudWyze is receiving about $18.4 million in grant funding to expand internet access to rural areas of the state, according to a press release Wednesday.
The N.C. Department of Information Technology selected the Wilmington-based company as part of the 2022 Growing Rural Economies with Access to Technology (GREAT) Grant program.
In August, the state announced the list of internet service providers and the counties where they will be supplying internet. CloudWyze was selected as the provider for Edgecombe, Harnett, Johnston, Martin and Nash counties.
This funding will help CloudWyze expand service to about 8,600 underserved and unserved homes in those counties.
"Access to quality internet service is becoming almost as important as electricity to our residents, so we are excited to see phase one of the project begin in October," Harnett County Manager Brent Trout said in the release.
The GREAT grant program provides matching grants to internet service providers and electric membership cooperatives that may partner with individual counties to compete for funding to expand high-speed internet service to unserved and underserved areas of the state, the release stated.
CloudWyze has been participating in the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) since its launch in 2021. It allows providers to offer discounted internet to low-income households. Applicants for the GREAT Grant must have already participated in the ACP program.
"We are thrilled about the GREAT Grant funds and excited for all North Carolinians, especially those who have lived without access to high-speed internet service," Shaun Olsen, founder and CEO of CloudWyze, said in the release.
CloudWyze is currently waiting for further details on the timelines for receiving the grant funding for the expansion projects. An announcement will be made once the organization has more information.