In Jackson County, utility trucks carrying spools of cable are emerging as part of ongoing efforts to deliver the necessary bandwidth for a thriving 21st-century economy to both homes and businesses.
According to the recent report by Beth Lawrence in the Herald, a significant development involved the allocation of $2.4 million to Balsam West, facilitating the expansion of services to over 630 locations in the Cashiers area. To support this initiative, the county contributed a $182,000 match from funds designated by the American Rescue Plan Act.
In addition to the ARPA funds, the county has also benefited from grants through the Growing Rural Economies with Access to Technology (GREAT) program offered by the N.C. Department of Information Technology.
Meanwhile, strides are being made in establishing landline access to broadband in and around the Sylva area. Jackson County’s Director of Economic Development, Tiffany Henry, continually emphasizes the significance of the North Carolina Broadband survey in propelling the county’s progress. Funding decisions are informed by the data from this survey, which offers the latest information on the existing levels of service within the county. To participate in the survey, visit https://www.ncbroadband.gov/north-carolina-broadband-survey. Additionally, the Affordable Connectivity Program, administered by the Federal Communications Commission, offers assistance to those facing affordability challenges in accessing high-speed internet, providing a $30 per month benefit. For households on qualifying tribal lands, this benefit increases to $75 per month.