The project was made possible through a $1.1 million grant ATMC received in August of 2020 through the N.C. GREAT Rural Broadband Expansion Program made possible by Gov. Roy Cooper’s office and administered through the N.C. Department of Information Technology (NCDIT). As part of the project, ATMC is contributing an additional $600,000 dollar in matching funds to complete the project. Upon completion of the project, ATMC will be able to serve more than 1,000 addresses in the Columbus County community of Fair Bluff.
“ATMC is excited to now offer fiber optic high-speed internet to residents and businesses in Fair Bluff. These folks have been without fast, reliable internet for too long, and we are grateful to be able to expand our services to even more areas of Columbus County,” said Keith Holden, ATMC’s CEO and general manager. “I also want to thank Representative Brenden Jones and Senator Danny Britt, as well as the NCDIT and Governor Roy Cooper’s Office for their on-going efforts to address North Carolina’s critical need for better rural broadband.”
ATMC has served residents and businesses in Columbus County for more than a decade. In 2010, ATMC received a $12 million grant through the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to bring high speed internet to over 2,600 residents and businesses in Nakina and Old Dock. Last July, the company announced the completion of a project made possible through a $1 million grant won in the 2019 NC GREAT Grant Program which made high-speed internet available to 1,200 households in the Beaverdam community. ATMC also received a $7.9 million dollar grant in 2019 from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s ReConnect Broadband Program which will allow the company to serve more than 4,000 homes in rural areas near Tabor City, Hallsboro, Lake Waccamaw, Bolton, and areas north of Whiteville. Construction on the ReConnect project is underway, and service will be available in areas of Tabor City and Hallsboro by late spring.
Upon completion of these projects, since 2011, ATMC will have invested more than $40 million in broadband projects that will improve and expand high-speed internet service in Columbus County. To support its growing Columbus County customer base, ATMC opened a customer care center in Whiteville behind the Brunswick Electric Membership Corporation location on N.C. 130.
These three phases were the first of 11 total phases to become available in ATMC’s Fair Bluff ‘Faster Columbus’ project. Work is underway on additional phases and service availability in all phases is estimated to be complete in the next 10-12 weeks. As construction in these additional phases is completed, ATMC will make service available. In addition to the Fair Bluff community, in December, ATMC won an additional grant through a supplementary round of the N.C. GREAT grant program which will allow the expansion of high-speed internet service into the Boardman and Cerro Gordo Communities, areas along Smyrna Road near Whiteville, and additional areas near East Arcadia, Riegelwood, Northwest and Sandy Creek.
For more information on where ATMC is building fiber optic high-speed internet in Columbus County, visit www.FasterColumbus.com. Residents and businesses located in the first phases of Fair Bluff can sign up for services from ATMC service by calling, 910-754-4311.