By DEUCE NIVEN
Construction will get underway quickly for a $1.5 million project to bring high speed Internet service to more than 2,000 homes, small businesses and farms in the Beaverdam area, ATMC and state leaders said during a ground breaking Friday.
“It’s a great day in the neighborhood,” ATMC Board of Directors President Douglas Hawes said, standing in front of shovels and hard hats ahead of the ground breaking ceremony. “We are very pleased to begin this Faster Columbus County project.”
A $1 million grant from North Carolina’s Department of Information Technology with a $550,000 from the Brunswick County based cooperative will fuel the project, which will bring Internet speeds of up to 1Gig to more than 950 homes and businesses in the Beaverdam community, the cooperative said.
“The project would not have been possible without the work done by the NCDIT and their efforts to support rural broadband,” said ATMC CEO and General Manager Keith Holden. “Access to high speed Internet offers endless opportunity for business and agricultural growth, increased educational resources, new job creation, access to tele-healthcare, and a myriad of entertainment options.”
ATMC, armed with an $8 million USDA grant, invested an equal amount to bring broadband service to southeastern Columbus County, a project that served 2,000 residents and was completed in 2012.
The cooperative recently completed a self-funded expansion in the south Whiteville area and the town of Brunswick, and has applied for a USDA ReConnect Grant that could bring serviced to 4,000 residents in underserved areas of Tabor City, Hallsboro, Lake Waccamaw, Bolton and north of Whiteville.
An announcement on that grant effort is expected next week.
Look for more on this story in the next Tabor-Loris Tribune in print and online.