ATMC Awarded $2.4 Million in GREAT Grant Funds to Serve Rural Areas in Columbus County
Raleigh, NC – Governor Roy Cooper announced that ATMC was one of 11 recipients to receive funding through the 2020 Special Supplementary Round of the Growing Rural Economies through Access to Technology (GREAT) Grant Program. ATMC was awarded $2.4 million that will be used to expand high speed internet service to more than 1,600 addresses spread in or around the rural communities of Boardman, Cerro Gordo, Clarendon, Ricefield, Sandyfield and areas just outside of Chadbourn, Tabor City and Whiteville. ATMC will provide $1 million in matching funds for this project. In addition, the company will serve an additional 130 addresses along the Columbus-Brunswick County line near the Northwest Community.
“ATMC is excited to receive these grants through this special round of funding through the NC GREAT Grant Program,” said Keith Holden, ATMC CEO. “This will be the third GREAT Grant award, and fifth grant overall that ATMC has received. The sum of all of these grants will allow for us to offer high-speed internet service to approximately 10,000 homes in rural Columbus County.”
In 2010, ATMC received a $12 million grant through the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to bring high speed internet to over 2,600 residents and businesses in Nakina and Old Dock. In July of this year, the company announced the completion of a project made possible through a $1 million grant won in the 2019 NC GREAT Grant Program. This project made high speed internet available to 1,200 households in the Beaverdam community. ATMC also received a $7.9 million dollar grant in 2019 from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s ReConnect Broadband Program which will allow the company to serve more than 4,000 homes in rural areas near Tabor City, Hallsboro, Lake Waccamaw, Bolton, and areas north of Whiteville. Construction on the ReConnect project began during the summer and service will be made available to the first customers in the next few months. In August, ATMC was named a recipient of a second grant through the 2020 NC GREAT Grant Program that will allow the company to provide internet services to an additional 1,200 households in the towns of Fair Bluff and Boardman. Upon completion of these projects, since 2011, ATMC will have invested approximately $40 million in projects that will improve and expand high-speed internet service in Columbus County. To support its growing Columbus County customer base, in March, ATMC opened a customer care center in Whiteville behind the Brunswick Electric Membership Corporation location on Highway 130.
“We appreciate every resident, business owner and community leader that sent in letters of support on behalf of these grant projects. We are also grateful to Senator Danny Britt and Representative Brenden Jones for their ongoing support of ATMC and the GREAT grant program. We would also like to thank Brunswick Electric Membership Corporation for partnering with us and allowing us to use their fiber network to reach some of these communities.”
ATMC is still awaiting details as to when these grant funds will be made available to begin work on the grant projects. To stay up to date on construction of these grant projects, please visit www.fastercolumbus.com or call 910-754-4311.