The Internet Society announced that five recipients will share $1 million in grant funding to expand broadband access in their communities as part of the Truist Expanding Potential in Communities (EPIC) Grant. The grant program supports broadband initiatives to help alleviate disparities in education, employment and social welfare in the Southeastern United States.
The Internet Society will distribute the grants, totaling between $108,000 to $180,000 each to the organizations and entities chosen by an advisory committee of municipal/community networks, and policy and community development experts. The grants will be directed toward supporting community networks built, owned and operated by local governments and organizations.
The recipients of the 2021 Truist EPIC Grant are:
- The Duval County Public Schools will receive $180,000 for Project OVERCOME21, a plan to turn schools in the Florida district into local broadband hubs for the surrounding community. The hubs boost signals to a three-mile radius and connect to the school district’s existing network.
- The Tuskegee Housing Authority will receive nearly $180,000 for its Jesup “Cyber Wagon” Project in Tuskegee, AL. The project will provide broadband access to low-income, Black communities where a lack of internet has hindered access to health, education and other services.
- The City of Wilson, NC, has been granted nearly $180,000 to expand North Carolina’s Community Broadband fiber-to-the-home into a rural, majority Black community in Wilson County.
- The City of Williston, FL, will receive $108,000 for its broadband program, COWLink, to support efforts to improve access and speed of broadband for local businesses, schools and homes.
- Wave 7 Communications will receive more than $150,000 to connect residents of Enfield, NC and outlying rural areas, train digital stewards and provide online learning to residents.