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State Funds Will Help Haywood County, N.C., Extend Broadband

The county has received nearly $700,000 from the state Completing Access to Broadband program. With matching money from the county, the money should enable 915 businesses and homeowners to access high-speed Internet.

A cellphone tower with a partially cloudy sky behind it.
(TNS) —Haywood County fared well when it came to landing funds to further extend broadband service into the far corners of its boundaries.

At the close of three years of state grants designed to expand internet access to rural areas, Haywood County has received just under $700,000 under the Completing Access to Broadband (CAB) program.

Those funds, and the matching money from the county, should offer reliable access to high-speed Internet to 915 businesses and homeowners in Haywood who previously could not get it.

The N.C. Department of Information Technology's Division of Broadband and Digital Equity awards the grants for the CAB program.

The county has partnered with Skyrunner Internet to bring broadband service to pockets of homes and businesses across the county, from Soco Gap in Maggie to Clyde to the Haywood/ Buncombe County line in the Crabtree/Fines Creek areas. Skyrunner will be spending just under $600,000 of its own funds on the project. Including the state and county funds, that brings the total broadband project cost in Haywood to $2 million.

Once construction is complete, the program will have provided broadband access to 46% of the remaining unserved households and businesses in Haywood County, according to the map provided by the agency.

"The prework the county's broadband committee did for the CAB grant really paid dividends," said David Francis, the county's out-going economic development director. "From all the applications, it was a slam dunk that working with Skyrunner was the best option. A big thank you to the county commissioners for their willingness to put in the money to create an enticing application."

There is still more work to do, he said. While the CAB grants provide a big step forward, they are providing the service to just less than half of the areas in the county without access to high-speed Internet.

However, another state program is due to step in.

Francis said the county is awaiting guidance on another program that will provide funding for the "last 100 feet," as opposed to the last mile which was the goal of previous state programs.

Those future funds will be matched with the $1 million in funding U.S. Rep. Chuck Edwards secured for the county.


Statewide, $67 million was awarded to county partners under the CAB program. That amount will connect many rural households and businesses in 15 counties to high-speed Internet.

These projects will be funded by nearly $35 million from the federal American Rescue Plan, administered through the state. Funding for expanding broadband in North Carolina has been a three-way partnership, with nearly $16 million from counties and more than $16 million from selected broadband providers joining the federal funds.

The program allows counties to solicit proposals from prequalified Internet service providers and quickly make awards. Those providers must agree to provide high-speed service that reliably meets or exceeds speeds of 100 Mbps download and 100 Mbps upload.

NCDIT has launched three new sites at that display details and progress on programs funded by the federal American Rescue Plan Act. The dashboards, which are updated monthly, will show the CAB program awards for each county in July.

For more information about the NCDIT Division of Broadband and Digital Equity and Governor Cooper's plan to close the digital divide, visit

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