PENDER COUNTY, N.C. (WECT) - The U.S. Department of Agriculture has awarded ATMC a $21.6 million grant to help expand high-speed internet access to over 7,000 addresses in rural Pender County.
The ReConnect Grant will allow the Shallotte-based ATMC to bring Gigabit broadband internet access to 6,853 residential addresses, over 285 businesses, 19 educational facilities, nine healthcare facilities, 15 critical community facilities, and 209 agricultural operations.
“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. Department of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue.
Grant funds must be used to cover the costs of construction, improvement, or acquisition of facilities and equipment needed to provide broadband service in eligible rural areas.
The ReConnect Grant funds will be matched by $7.2 million from ATMC to bring the total project investment to $28.9 million.
“This grant will make a considerable impact in Pender County for many years to come by helping us bring high speed internet to thousands of residents that have been without it for far too long,” said ATMC CEO Keith Holden.
As a considerable amount of preliminary work is required before construction starts, ATMC anticipates the new fiber optic network installation process to begin in mid-2021.
For more information about ATMC’s progress on the ReConnect Grant, visit www.fasterpender.com or call 910-754- 4311.