CURRIE, NC (WWAY)–Rural communities across the State of North Carolina have struggled with high-speed internet over the years, but that’s all about to change for Pender County residents.
ATMC announced this morning that they were going to bring high-speed broadband internet services to over 17,000 people living in rural Pender County. They say the new fiber optic operation will be a game changer for families in the county.
“If you’re growing up and you don’t have access to internet now how does your children research school problems or projects,”says ATMC CEO Keith Holden. “You know this makes a huge difference.”
In today’s day and age with remote learning taking center stage, they say it’s more important now than ever before to provide quality internet in rural America. Pender County Commissioner George Brown says its been a work in progress and waiting for the announcement almost made him feel like a kid on Christmas Eve.
“It means for all those folks that call us on a daily basis and ask us for help, we’re finally being able to deliver that help,”says Brown. “It wouldn’t be possible without the help of ATMC, and our federal government. This is the main item on our wish list and it came true today.”
The project will be funded by a $21.6 million dollar grant from the United States Department of Agriculture and their ReConnect Broadband program. Public hot spots throughout Pender County have help residents get through the last few months, but they say this will open up so many different avenues.
“The main point that we’re trying to underscore here is this is life changing,”says Congressman David Rouzer. “You take a kid that doesn’t have access to the internet when their at home versus one that does, it makes a huge difference. “Whether that means they’re able to get in to UNC-Chapel Hill, or NC State University or Harvard or Yale or wherever they’re capable of going. “
The projected is expected to take between 24 and 36 months to complete once construction begins.