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Expanding Broadband for Haywood

More than 6,000 locations within Haywood County are either currently equipped with or are slated to receive fiber-to-the-home broadband access in the coming years. These initiatives have been made possible through a combination of grant awards from the NC Division of Broadband and Digital Equity, county matching funds, and federal broadband grants.

One noteworthy recipient of funding is Skyrunner, which secured a $1.2 million state Growing Rural Economics with Access to Technology (GREAT) grant. Skyrunner successfully completed its projects stemming from this grant in May. In a bid to enhance connectivity, Charter/Spectrum has also been conducting surveys across the county to prepare for fiber installation.

The GREAT 2020 supplemental grant offered to Skyrunner extended access to fiber-to-the-home services to 304 households, particularly benefiting the most remote areas of the county. Subsequently, Skyrunner has continued to expand its network by connecting new locations upon individual service requests. This domino effect has led to more areas adjacent to the initial 304 locations gaining access to Skyrunner’s fiber services, as reported by the Haywood County Broadband Committee.

Charter/Spectrum, on the other hand, secured approximately $7 million in funding through three separate awards, aiming to serve over 5,900 locations throughout the county. They were given a six-year window, starting from the 2021 award date, to complete these installations.

It’s important to note that Charter/Spectrum does not disclose information regarding its construction schedule to the county. Nevertheless, there is observable evidence of work commencing in various locations within the county. Areas identified on the FCC Broadband Map as already served by wired providers with speeds greater than 25/3 Mbps and locations covered by grant awards do not qualify for further CAB grants.

Consequently, Haywood County’s focus has shifted towards identifying areas lacking fiber access and actively seeking grant funding to expedite the process of providing fiber-to-the-home services to all corners of Haywood. The county also maintains an ongoing collaboration with other wired internet service providers offering fiber or cable services in the area, including Zito Media.

Additionally, wireless internet service providers offering speeds exceeding 25/3 Mbps, such as wireless T-Mobile Home Internet, Skyrunner wireless home internet, and satellite-based Starlink, have been expanding their service footprint in Haywood County, offering immediate broadband solutions to residents.

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