The North Carolina budget includes a new $10 million grant program within the Department of Information Technology to expand rural broadband – the Growing Rural Economies with Access to Technology (GREAT) program.
Eligible projects for the grants must be discrete and specific and located in an unserved area of an economically distressed county (tier 1 area under G.S. 143B-473.08). Such projects must seek to provide broadband services to homes, businesses and community anchor points not currently served.
Eligible grant recipients are private providers of broadband services, including cooperatively organized entities, or partnerships formed between cooperatively organized entities, private providers, or any combination, on or after January 1, 2018.
No grant award can exceed $2 million. In addition, no more than one grant may be awarded per fiscal year in any eligible county. Grant recipients must provide matching funds based on certain criteria.
Applications for grants are submitted to the Secretary of the Department of Information Technology.
More details of the GREAT program and requirements for eligibility can be found in the budget in Section 37.1 on pages 219-225 at https://www.ncleg.net/Sessions/2017/Budget/2018/S99-CCSMMxr-2_v2.pdf.