Hertford County awarded CAB Grant

Published 4:34 pm Friday, September 15, 2023

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RALEIGH – Governor Roy Cooper recently announced the state’s first Completing Access to Broadband (CAB) program awards totaling $22 million that will connect 6,012 households and 164 businesses in 14 counties to high-speed internet.

Hertford County is among those initial recipients of the CAB Grant. The county is expected to receive $1.3 million which will be transferred to its partner, Roanoke Connect Holdings (Fybe), who will use the funds to provide high speed internet to 160 homes and 11 businesses in the county.

The county is required to pay a local match for this broadband expansion. That amount has yet to be determined.

A map of the Hertford County locations eligible under the guidelines for a CAB Grant show the greatest clusters of homes/businesses in the southwestern portion of the county (south of Murfreesboro to north of Aulander) and between Harrellsville and Cofield.

The CAB program, administered by the N.C. Department of Information Technology (NCDIT), complements the state’s Growing Rural Economies with Access to Technology (GREAT) grant program to reach additional unserved areas.

Hertford County Interim Manager Kevin Patterson recently informed the county commissioners of the pending CAB Grant. He noted that the county received a GREAT Grant last year ($1.35 million that was awarded to Connect Holding II Brightspeed / Lumen Technologies).

“CAB grants are for the second highest non-awarded provider that submitted an application for a GREAT Grant. In our case, that was Fybe,” Patterson said at the Aug. 21 meeting of the commissioners.

He added that the CAB program creates a partnership between NCDIT and any county that wishes to participate. A county participating in this partnership may request funding in one of two ways. In Hertford County’s case, they applied for a defined eligible CAB project that was mutually identified by the county and NCDIT.

Once administered, the grant gives Fybe up to two years to complete its build-out of broadband internet to the pre-determined 171 locations in Hertford County.

“These awards will help ensure that more North Carolinians can access affordable and reliable high-speed internet to participate in today’s digital world,” said Governor Cooper. “We will continue to collaborate with county leaders and all grantees to close our state’s digital divide.”

The NCDIT Broadband Infrastructure Office, part of the Division of Broadband and Digital Equity, made the initial 14 CAB awards, which are contingent upon final, executed grant agreement with each county’s broadband provider partners.

Hertford County was the only one in the northeastern portion of the state to earn a CAB Grant in this initial round of funding.

“We are proud to partner with these 14 counties to make the state’s first CAB awards,” said NCDIT Secretary and State Chief Information Officer Jim Weaver. “This new funding program adds to the ways we are working to provide high-speed internet access across North Carolina.”

These new CAB program awards add to the nearly $348 million in GREAT grants awarded in 2022 and 2023 that are set to connect 144,046 North Carolina households and businesses to high-speed internet. The GREAT grant and CAB programs provide matching grants to internet service providers that may partner with individual North Carolina counties to compete for funding to expand high-speed internet service to unserved and underserved areas of the state.

Like GREAT grant awardees, all CAB program grantees must participate in the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), which provides eligible low-income households a $30 per month discount on high-speed internet service, or provide access to a comparable low-cost program.

CAB program applicants must also agree to provide high-speed service, defined as a minimum of 100 Megabits per second (Mbps) download and 20 Mbps upload, scalable to 100 Mbps download and 100 Mbps upload on or before Dec. 31, 2026.



About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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