Jun 28, 2023 - Business

North Carolina lands $1.5B to expand high-speed internet access

Illustration ethernet cables forming a dollar sign.

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

North Carolina is set to receive $1.5 billion to boost high-speed broadband internet across rural swaths of the state.

Driving the news: The money will come from a new federal program created through the infrastructure bill signed into law by President Biden in 2021.

Why it matters: Broadband internet has increasingly become a linchpin of the modern economy, as more business is done online and remote work opportunities explode.

By the numbers: The N.C. Department of Information Technology estimates that roughly 1.1 million households in the state lack access to high-speed internet, can't afford it or do not have the skills to operate in the digital economy.

What's next: States now have to submit proposals to the U.S. Department of Commerce for how they will use the funds. Once approved, the money will be doled out over multiple years.

  • The state has already put together a five-year plan around expanding broadband, which includes using the new federal money to connect the highest-cost areas and provide fiber to schools, libraries and other important institutions in underserved communities.

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