LittleT Broadband Update for October

Jeff Lee, LittleT Broadband

LittleT Broadband is continuing the work to pursue development and deployment of high-speed internet in Otto and Scaly Mountain. As we have mentioned in previous updates, the biggest obstacle is to secure funding to build the network backbone and infrastructure needed to deliver high-speed data to homes and businesses in our area. As we all know, our terrain and sparse population make this an expensive proposition, that no for-profit company has been willing to undertake without financial assistance.

During early October, the LittleT tech team worked with Balsam West and the Southwestern Commission to help prepare materials for an application to the NC GREAT 2020 CARES Act Supplementary Round grant program. The application was completed and submitted on October 14. The goal is to obtain and use NC GREAT grant funding to help build the network infrastructure needed to reach homes and businesses from the proposed backbone.

So, what has happened with the backbone network project?

As mentioned in the September update, progress was made with Macon County, and the commissioners approved an RFP (Request For Proposals) back in early August for broadband expansion in south Macon. Winning the RFP comes with the promise of grant funds. The intended usage of the associated grant is to fund the construction of the critical backbone network that will bring connectivity to Otto and Scaly from the Franklin city limits.

The county attorney's office and NCIT Broadband division were unable to release the RFP until October 2nd. The timing of this actually worked in our favor, as it allowed focus on the NC GREAT grant application earlier in the month. With work on the GREAT application behind us, we have recently been engaged with Balsam West in helping to prepare materials for the RFP response, which is due Monday, Nov 2.

With funding applications and responses submitted, we hope to hear outcomes on these initiatives in the December timeframe. Of course these outcomes will dictate our next steps.

Thanks to all for your continued support.