ATMC Holds Groundbreaking to Celebrate Construction of FOCUS Fiber Optic Network in Beaverdam
Shallotte, NC - Today, ATMC held a groundbreaking ceremony to celebrate the start of construction for a $1.5 million-dollar project that will bring its FOCUS fiber optic delivered high speed internet service to over 2,000 underserved residents in the Beaverdam community of Columbus County. Local and state representatives, ATMC’s Board of Directors, Columbus County leadership, and members of the community came out to celebrate the occasion.
The project was made possible through a NC GREAT Grant that ATMC received earlier this year from Governor Roy Cooper’s office and the NC Department of Information Technology (NCDIT) which provided $1 million dollars in grant funds to be matched with a $550,000 investment from ATMC. The combined funds will allow the Shallotte-based company to deliver internet speeds of up to 1Gig to over 950 homes and businesses in the Beaverdam community.
“The project would not have been possible without the work done by the NCDIT and their efforts to support rural broadband,” said Keith Holden, ATMC’s CEO and General Manager, “Access to high speed internet, offers endless opportunity for business and agricultural growth, increased educational resources, new job creation, access to tele-healthcare, and a myriad of entertainment options.”
The Governor’s office along with the NC Department of Information Technology introduced the Growing Rural Economies with Access to Technology (GREAT) Act as a way for internet service providers to seek and compete for funding to aid in lowering the financial barriers that prevent high speed internet service expansion in Tier 1 counties. ATMC was one of 19 service providers across the state to receive funding in the program’s inaugural year.
“We are excited to be here to show our support for ATMC and celebrate its continued work to bring broadband to rural areas of our state,” said Jeff Sural, Broadband Infrastructure Director for NCDIT. “This grant will create viable opportunities for generations to come and we are happy to have played a role in making high speed internet a reality in this community. I believe small businesses and rural telecom providers, like ATMC, will be the ones who help us finally close the digital divide.”
ATMC also applied for additional grant funding from the US Department of Agriculture’s ReConnect Grant Program which could allow the company to serve an additional 4,000 residents living in underserved areas near Tabor City, Hallsboro, Lake Waccamaw, Bolton, and areas north of Whiteville. An announcement on the status of that grant is expected to be made next week. ATMC also recently completed a $4.5 million-dollar project building out their FOCUS fiber optic network to residents and businesses in the Town of Brunswick and areas in the southern portion of Whiteville.
The work to complete this portion of ATMC’s ‘Faster Columbus’ project is expected to be complete by midsummer of 2020. Residents and businesses in the Beaverdam community can stay up to date on construction by visiting www.FasterColumbus.com or by calling ATMC at 910-754-4311.