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Rural county serves as model for national broadband expansion

By January 11, 2022No Comments

By Molly Hulsey

About 4,500 Cherokee County homes and small businesses lacked access to internet service last year, but change is in the air — or rather, the ground.

The county and Charter Communications have launched a two-year public-private partnership in which the Upstate county will model Charter’s plans for its $5 billion broadband expansion to an estimated 1 million homes and businesses across the country.

The project will draw on the Federal Communication Commission’s Rural Digital Opportunity Fund.

“Broadband is a vital resource for work, learning and personal connection,” Jessica Geremia, Spectrum’s area vice president of field operations, said in a news release. “Leveraging RDOF resources, we’re building a high-speed, high-capacity network that will bring gigabit internet to thousands of homes and small businesses in Cherokee County — an investment that will ensure families and businesses can participate fully in the digital world, now and well into the future.”

The Cherokee project, funded with more than $3 million, began Jan. 1 and is expected to connect 3,000 homes and small businesses to high-speed internet.

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