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Carteret County Economic Development Foundation Receives Broadband Grant
CARTERET COUNTY—The Carteret County Economic Development Foundation (“Foundation”) Board of Directors announced today that the Foundation has been awarded a $5,000 Building a New Digital Economy in NC (BAND-NC) grant from the Institute for Emerging Issues (“IEI”) at NC State University. The grant funds will be used to develop a Carteret County digital inclusion plan.
“This grant from the Institute for Emerging Issues comes at a very opportune time for Carteret County,” said Ed Stack, Foundation Chair. “Our Foundation Board of Directors has identified addressing the county’s broadband challenges as our highest programmatic priority this year, and the grant will allow us to jumpstart the development of a countywide plan to address the broadband needs of all Carteret County residents,” he added.
The goal of the Foundation Board of Directors is for Carteret County to become the first rural county in North Carolina to have a comprehensive, countywide digital inclusion plan. Currently, Mecklenburg County is the only North Carolina county with such a plan.
The Foundation has engaged Deborah Watts, principal with Broadband Catalysts, as a consultant and project manager to facilitate the development of the Carteret County plan, which is anticipated to be completed in early 2021. “There is no question that broadband is essential infrastructure in the 21st century. The coronavirus pandemic has underscored the importance of high-speed internet to education at every level, health care and remote working,” according to Watts. “Many North Carolinians, including those in Carteret County, face significant barriers to affordable internet services, and the plan is intended to identify those hurdles and describe a range of solutions,” added Watts.
“We are delighted that Carteret County was included in the first round of BAND-NC grant recipients,” said Maggie Woods, IEI Program and Policy Manager and BAND-NC program lead. “Our review committee thought the Foundation had a very compelling application, and we believe that what Carteret County is doing can be a model for rural North Carolina.”