AccessOn Networks Awarded USDA ReConnect Grant to Bring High-Speed Internet to Rural Areas of Warren and Halifax Counties
Warren County and Halifax County, NC – AccessOn Networks announced today that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has awarded the company a $17.5 million dollar grant which will allow the Holly Springs-based company to bring high-speed internet access to more than 2,500 addresses, 100 businesses, 76 farms and 22 educational facilities in rural Warren and Halifax counties.
“People living in rural towns across the nation need high-speed internet to run their businesses, go to school and connect with their loved ones,” commented USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack. “USDA partners with small towns, local utilities and cooperatives, and private companies to increase access to high-speed internet so people in rural America have the opportunity to build brighter futures. Under the leadership of President Biden and Vice President Harris, USDA is committed to making sure that people, no matter where they live, have access to high-speed internet.”
Governor Roy Cooper joined Secretary Vilsack at the announcement stating, “The pandemic tossed us into the future by about a decade and we had to make something good out of something bad. People came together and realized we could make transformational change in North Carolina. I’m grateful for the Biden-Harris Administration helping us do that through unprecedented funding like this USDA ReConnect grant.”
The ReConnect grant funds awarded by the USDA will be used to bring fiber optic, high-speed internet to rural, underserved communities in southern Warren County and the Haliwa-Saponi Tribal area in Warren and Halifax counties. “This is a golden opportunity for the Haliwa-Saponi Tribe,” commented Haliwa-Saponi Chief Dr. Brucie Ogletree Richardson. “Our tribal government provides services for not only our tribal citizens, but for the community, and we are excited to know that we will soon have access to high-speed internet through this grant.”
“AccessOn Networks is thankful for the opportunity to receive this funding from the USDA,” said Steve Ledford, AccessOn Networks CEO. “This grant will allow us to help residents and businesses in Warren and Halifax counties that desperately need access to reliable high-speed internet. We would like to thank the Biden-Harris Administration, the USDA, Governor Cooper and NCDIT, Congressman Butterfield, Congresswoman Ross, the Haliwa-Saponi Tribe, Warren County Manager Vincent Jones and Halifax County Manager Dia Denton, county commissioners from both counties, and all of the residents, business owners and community leaders who supported this application. Their support was vital in helping us win this grant funding.”
Owned by North Carolina’s communications cooperatives, AccessOn Networks is a provider of advanced fiber-based communication services to small cities and towns rural North Carolina that has been serving rural North Carolina’s communication needs for more than 25 years. This ReConnect grant enables AccessOn Networks to bring their advanced network to an area where these capabilities, speed and reliability have not previously been available. AccessOn Networks is led by a Board of Directors that consists of rural broadband cooperative leaders from across the state.
AccessOn Networks anticipates construction of the new fiber optic network to begin in 2023 after all grant documentation and environmental studies have been completed. For more information about AccessOn Networks, visit www.accessonnetworks.com/fiber.