Sep 11 2020

Tillis Pushed for Expedited Approval Process for Broadband Grants in May Due to COVID 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC) applauded the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) for investing more than $23 million to provide broadband service in unserved and underserved rural areas in North Carolina. In May, Senator Tillis sent a letter to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development Administrator Chad Rupe requesting the Rural Utilities Service (RUS) expedite the approval process for funding awards for the agency’s broadband ReConnect program as millions of Americans rely on internet connectivity during the coronavirus pandemic.

Atlantic Telephone Membership Corporation will use a $21.6 million grant to deploy a fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) network to connect 17,424 people, 209 farms, 285 businesses, 19 educational facilities, nine health care facilities, seven fire stations, and seven post offices to high-speed broadband internet in Pender County and Randolph Telephone Membership Corporation will use a $2.3 million grant to deploy a fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) network to connect 3,333 people, 17 farms, 26 businesses and nine educational facilities to high-speed broadband internet in Moore County.

“High-speed internet remains one of the biggest needs in rural North Carolina, particularly with the rise of remote learning due to COVID-19, and I have continued to work with the USDA and state government to expand access,” said Senator Tillis. “These grants totaling $23 million will go a long way to providing broadband service in areas that need it the most, and I want to thank President Trump and Secretary Perdue for making this substantial funding available for rural communities in North Carolina.”

“The need for rural broadband has never been more apparent than it is now – as our nation manages the coronavirus national emergency. Access to telehealth services, remote learning for school children, and remote business operations all require access to broadband,” said U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue. “I am so proud of our rural communities who have been working day in and day out, just like they always do, producing the food and fiber America depends on. We need them more than ever during these trying times, and expanding access to this critical infrastructure will help ensure rural America prospers for years to come.”