Home Telecom announces they have been awarded an $8.1 million Rural Development Broadband ReConnect grant from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to develop hundreds of miles of fiber-optic cable in rural Charleston and Berkeley Counties including areas of Honey Hill, Huger, Awendaw, and McClellanville, as well as areas of Cross and Sandridge.
The USDA will match Home Telecom’s significant financial investment of over $8.1 million in those communities equating to a total project investment of over $16 million.
The grant will help create or improve high-speed broadband infrastructure to thousands of rural households, farms, businesses, educational facilities, and fire stations in those areas.
Even though the funding is focused on broadband, Home Telecom will be offering their full suite of services in these areas, including Security, Home Automation, Video, and Phone.
Home Telecom applied for the funding in June as part of the USDA Rural Development program designed to allow the federal government to partner with the private sector and rural communities to build modern broadband infrastructure in areas with connection speeds of less than 10 Mbps download and 1 Mbps upload.
Home Telecom President and CEO William Helmly says, “Today, we are celebrating how a well-crafted, public-private partnership can be constructed to allow for a significant investment by a private company to be leveraged to provide needed advanced broadband services to underserved and unserved, high-cost, rural communities.”
As the electric utilities provider in many of the areas that will be improved by the infrastructure Home Telecom will be building, Berkeley Electric Cooperative is eager to see this come to fruition. “Berkeley Electric Cooperative is a part of the communities we serve,” said Dwayne Cartwright, BEC president and CEO. “As a locally-owned business, Home Telecom shares this philosophy which is why we support their efforts to improve our member’s lives by bridging the digital divide by bringing broadband to the McClellanville and Awendaw areas.”
Helmly continues “Home Telecom is committed to providing access to high-quality, high-speed connectivity in rural areas of the Lowcountry. Children need it for education, rural business owners need it to build and grow successful businesses, families need it for telemedicine and employment resources, and civic entities need it to provide vital services to the rural communities they serve.”
For more information about the ReConnect Grant, contact Caoimhe Zett at Home Telecom at [email protected] or (843) 761-9859.