Charter expansion will grow rural economy, present investment opportunity

Vicki Hyatt, The Mountaineer, Waynesville, N.C.
·2 min read

Feb. 17—Information provided by Charter Communications indicates the company received Rural Digital Opportunity Fund grants in 83 counties to provide service to over 128,000 locations in North Carolina.

The $142 million in federal funding will be matched with about twice as much private funding in the targeted projects, according to Michael E. Tanck, director of government affairs for the company.

The grants were awarded to CCO Holding, LLC. All new service will have a standard speed of 200 Mbps (megabytes per second) with optional service up to 1 Gigabit.

"To do all the build out construction in the county, in North Carolina and across the Country will be a very large undertaking for Charter," Tanck said in an email to the county. "We are actively expanding our work force and developing our plan to do this work. Many of the details are still in development since the RDOF awards were only recently announced. We look forward to share more information about our build out plans when they are known."

A company news release stated the new broadband service is in addition to Charter's existing network expansion plans, including numerous state broadband grant projects, as well as the company's previously planned privately funded expansions.

"The initiative offers Charter an attractive long-term investment opportunity, as it will drive additional customer growth via an expanded footprint in unserved areas," the news release stated. "Additionally, the presence of Charter's modern communications network in these rural areas may result in economic development and more homes and businesses for Charter to serve in these communities and additional buildout to adjacent communities, producing greater investment returns over time. Charter looks forward to participating in additional public-private partnerships to expand broadband access."

The recent COVID 19 pandemic has shown how important broadband service is to all residents, Tanck said.

"No matter if it is for remote education, virtual medical appointments, working from home or just staying in touch with friends and family members, access to broadband is more important than ever," he said.