Orange County seeking to expand rural broadband through ARPA funds
Orange County has designated $5 million of its initial American Rescue Plan Act Local Recovery Funds to improve broadband in rural areas and is seeking a company or companies that can help the county achieve its goals.
The Orange County Broadband Task Force and the N.C. Broadband Infrastructure Office are offering virtual meetings for interested companies. These sessions will be held Thursday, July 22, beginning at 3 p.m. Each company will have 20 minutes to discuss their ability to meet the county’s goal to improve service in rural areas.
Companies should be prepared to discuss the details of an affordable fiber-based solution that provides a minimum of 100 Mbps symmetrical service to approximately 5,000 unserved and underserved households within Orange County. The plan should include a subsidized option for low-income families to ensure that all residents are served.
Interested companies should include details on project costs and what kind of subsidy per household would be needed from the county to provide the minimum service to every home by Dec. 31, 2024.
“Bringing broadband to underserved and unserved areas is essential if we are to stimulate economic activity, improve educational opportunities and enhance the quality of life for our rural residents,” said Orange County Chair Renee Price. “The pandemic emphasized that broadband or the digital highway should be considered a critical part of our infrastructure.”
Interested companies should register for a meeting at https://orangecountync.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_mcbbcSAJQAuIy0mxStBRSQ.
The county will release a formal RFP later.