North Carolina Cable Company Benefits from USDA Rural Broadband Investment

North Carolina Cable Company Benefits from USDA Rural Broadband Investment
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November 19, 2015

Country Cablevision of Burnsville, NC is now providing homes and business with upgraded broadband speeds after a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Two thousand homes can receive data at up to 100 megabytes per second, while businesses can receive up to 1 gigabit per second. The new service allows troops overseas to have live video connections with their friends and families, and it makes it easier for virtual visits at the local nursing home.

The funding provided to the Yadkin County company is part of an effort by the USDA's American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to expand broadband access to nearly six million rural residents, workers, and businesses. The Act has financed 254 projects across 44 states and American Samoa.

"I am proud to announce today that all the active projects USDA has financed through the Recovery Act are now providing broadband service in rural areas nationwide," USDA Rural Utilities Service Administrator Brandon McBride said in a written statement. "In 2009, the Obama Administration pushed for, and Congress provided USDA with, an unprecedented level of funding and five years to connect rural areas to high-speed networks. Bringing broadband to these areas is having a tremendous impact on rural communities. This access means more jobs, better education and a higher quality of life. The economic viability of rural America, like all of America, depends on access to broadband."

Building broadband infrastructure in rural and remote areas can be challenging. In communities in Bristol Bay and the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta in Alaska, for example, cable was pulled by hand under a frozen river to make broadband available to Native Alaskan villages for the first time. As a result, area residents now have expanded access to health care services.

According to the Federal Communications Commission, only 47 percent of people who live and work in rural areas have access to high-speed internet, compared to 90 percent of those who live and work in urban and metropolitan areas.

"Too many rural Americans are still living on the wrong side of the digital divide," McBride states. "USDA is committed to bridging that divide by getting more rural Americans online at work, at school and at home."