ATMC Presents the Town of Brunswick with Smart Rural Community Designation
Columbus County, NC - ATMC recently presented Mayor Nancy Hill and the Town of Brunswick Board of Commissioners with a Smart Rural Community sign at their December meeting. The Town of Brunswick is the first Columbus County town to receive the national recognition.
The Smart Rural Community designation highlights NTCA – The Rural Broadband Association member projects where implementation of innovative broadband-enabled solutions has helped make rural communities more vibrant places to live and do business. The Town of Brunswick received this recognition because of ATMC’s $4.5 million-dollar investment which provided Brunswick and South Whiteville residents and businesses access to Gigabit broadband speeds via a 100% fiber optic network.
“We are excited that residents and businesses in our small town now have access to ATMC’s fiber optic network,” said Mayor Nancy Hill. “Fiber optic delivered internet is more reliable and will be beneficial to all who live and do business here.”
Over the years, ATMC has helped bring fiber optic technology to public schools, local health care facilities, communications centers, as well as, many other vital businesses and organizations. ATMC’s drive to provide cutting-edge technologies to communities served by the cooperative, along with ongoing network upgrades and expansion efforts, was a major factor in the company being named a Smart Rural Community Provider by The Rural Broadband Association.
“Providing a fiber optic network to the Town of Brunswick will have a lasting positive effect on this community and deliver a broadband connection that will be more attractive for companies looking to relocate to the area,” said Keith Holden, ATMC CEO. The Town of Brunswick now joins other area towns such as Ocean Isle Beach, Holden Beach, Oak Island and the Town of Shallotte who have also been honored as Smart Rural Communities.
Though ATMC service is new to residents and businesses in the Town of Brunswick, ATMC has had a presence in Columbus County for nearly a decade. In 2010, ATMC received a $12 million grant through the USDA to build a fiber optic network to over 2,000 residents and businesses in the unserved Columbus County communities of Nakina and Old
Dock, and earlier this year ATMC received a $1 million-dollar grant from the NC GREAT Grant Program to bring faster internet to over 2,000 residents in the Columbus County community of Beaverdam. In Beaverdam, ATMC will make an additional investment of up to $2 million dollars to the project and will include additional areas that were not eligible for grant funding.
In early December, ATMC announced that it was awarded a $7.9 million-dollar USDA ReConnect Grant to serve over 4,000 Columbus County homes in the rural areas near Tabor City, Hallsboro, Bolton, Lake Waccamaw, and areas north of Whiteville. ATMC will match the USDA grant dollar-for-dollar for a total investment of $15.8 million dollars. At the completion of the ReConnect project, ATMC will have invested over $40 million in rural broadband expansion in Columbus County since 2011.
ATMC is currently in the process of applying for additional grant funds to be made available through the second year of the NC GREAT Grant Program. Residents and business owners living in areas west of Whiteville in Columbus County are encouraged to visit www.fastercolumbus.com and take the broadband needs survey in order to help ATMC identify Columbus County areas that are still in need of reliable, high-speed internet service. The application due date is in March and community support and accurate data are critical to submitting a successful application.
Brunswick residents and businesses are encouraged to sign up for FOCUS fiber optics by calling 910-754-4311. For more information about what ATMC is doing to increase access to broadband in Columbus County, visit fastercolumbus.com or call 910-754-4311.
Pictured: ATMC Director of Business Development, Kris Ward, presents Smart Rural Community designation to Mayor Nancy Hill and the Town of Brunswick’s Board of Commissioner.