MCNC, operator of the North Carolina Research and Education Network (NCREN), is expanding its statewide broadband network in Southeast North Carolina by connecting communities between Sanford and Farmville in Greene, Harnett, Johnston, and Wayne counties to infrastructure enabled by the Golden LEAF Foundation. MCNC provides internet connectivity to research, education, non-profit health care, public safety, libraries, and other community institutions.
This project received $1,327,130 in support from the Golden LEAF Foundation, which receives a portion of state funding from a 1998 Master Settlement Agreement with cigarette manufacturers. Golden LEAF works to increase economic opportunity in the state’s rural and tobacco-dependent communities, through grants, jobs and training.
MCNC will leverage 138 miles of newly built fiber assets in the area to improve the operation and resiliency of NCREN in the southeast. It will also design and build an additional 18.5 miles of fiber to fully connect these locations.
In this grant, MCNC will emphasize agriculture by working with North Carolina State University to connect cooperative extension offices along the route as well as the Cherry Research Farm in Goldsboro, to focus on sustainable agriculture technologies. MCNC also will look to enable residential connectivity via partnerships with local Internet Service Providers and Wireless Internet Service Providers to expand internet access in surrounding communities.
The total project cost is estimated at $2.5 million. Construction began in July and is expected to be complete in early 2020.
August 23, 2019