Broadband Update - Nov 11, 2022
Jeff Lee, LittleT Broadband
Though there are still many things happening related to broadband in Macon County, it has been relatively quiet for the past month or so without major headlines and big public announcements.
The South Macon Broadband Project continues to evolve, though at a slower pace than earlier this year. The community facility public hot spots are all active and we have been able to expand high-speed internet service into the fire department offices both in Otto and Scaly Mountain. BalsamWest is steadily working to connect businesses along 441, and is beginning to do so now in Scaly Mountain.
Residential expansion is beginning to happen in South Macon, but very slowly. The original hope was that state grant funding would allow this expansion to move more quickly. Since no state grants have been awarded for this project, communities can only be addressed one-by-one and street by street.
If you live near the new fiber backbone or in an area served by a another provider and wish to see expansion of high-speed service into your community, please contact LittleT through the Contact Us form on the website. We can discuss your area, the requirements to get such a project going, and help make contact with the appropriate provider.
Frontier, the GREAT grant winner for Macon County in 2022, is currently in a holding pattern on their deployment effort. All GREAT grant awardees state-wide are waiting on NCDIT (North Carolina Department of Information Technology) to develop and finalize grant agreements. Grant award funding does not flow and providers will not start building until these are finalized.
The hope is that these agreements will be completed by the end of the year so that Frontier can begin construction in early 2023. They will have until Dec 31, 2024 to provide fiber service to 2700 location county-wide. Once a grant agreement is in place, we will be working with Frontier to learn and publish their timeline for construction around the County.
The Macon County Broadband Committee is continuing to explore new opportunities for broadband expansion around the County. The NC CAB grant program will be starting up after the first of the year, and we are actively looking at areas were these funds might be applied. The Committee is also exploring the possibility of developing a project similar to the South Macon effort in another part of the County.