Rural small towns and farm communities will be receiving $759 billion in grants to improve their access to high-speed internet.
As part of the $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure law, the grants will offer 49 recipients in 24 states $65 billion for high-speed connectivity. During their visit to North Carolina, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and White House senior adviser Mitch Landrieu announced that $17.5 million will go towards North Carolina’s AccessOn Networks, a program which provides services to 100 business, 22 educational facilities, and 76 farms in two separate counties.
“Rural America needs this,” Vilsack added while in North Carolina, “Rural America deserves this.” Landrieu likewise highly supports the grant arguing that rural communities are the “backbone of our nation” and have been left sorely underappreciated.
To better understand exactly how the grants and internet access can lead to increased opportunities, the officials tour in North Carolina will include visits to rural communities. According to North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper, the pandemic forced communities across the state to become much more internet reliant.
Officials are now hopeful that the broadband expansion will help the approximately 1 million North Carolinians lacking digital connectivity.
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