Home Rockingham County, NC News Rockingham County (North Carolina) Announces Multi-Million Dollar Broadband Initiative

Rockingham County (North Carolina) Announces Multi-Million Dollar Broadband Initiative

County Officials in partnership with Reidsville Area Foundation, County Schools, RCC and Spectrum announces a grant to offer broadband access to over 3,200 addresses. Wentworth, NC (January 26, 2022) –  Rockingham County will soon be one of the best-connected counties in North Carolina. At its regular meeting last Monday, the Rockingham County Board of County Commissioners approved a $3.985 million grant agreement with Spectrum to provide broadband internet access to the 3,250 Rockingham County known addresses that do not have high-speed internet access. The total estimated cost of this project is $14.4 million, with Spectrum investing approximately $10.4 million toward this expansion as well. This agreement also provides a framework for further expanding coverage as new addresses without broadband access are discovered. A key part of this agreement is its short timeline, with all work scheduled for completion within two years.

   This agreement is the first of its kind in the state, and is made possible through a financial partnership between Rockingham County Government ($3.25 million), Reidsville Area Foundation ($1.5 million), Rockingham County Schools ($1 million), and Rockingham Community College ($250,000). This total local project funding of $6 million will be used for broadband expansion to the known unserved addresses, as well as to additional unserved address points the County anticipates will be discovered as work begins.

   “Expanding broadband internet access countywide has been a major priority of the Board of Commissioners for quite a while” stated County Manager, Lance Metzler, “so entering into this partnership with Spectrum is a major deal for Rockingham County. Thanks to the research and background information staff have been collecting for years we were in a great position to pursue an agreement like this once funding became a possibility.”

   While work towards this goal began prior to COVID-19, the changes the pandemic brought to everyday life in areas like education, business, and commerce only furthered the importance of high-speed internet access. “This project not only benefits those in our community who have traditionally not had access,” stated Dawn Charaba, Executive Director of Reidsville Area Foundation. “it now expands and opens the door for economic advancement for our business and families.”

   One of the sectors most significantly impacted by COVID-19 is education. In discussing Rockingham County School’s decision to partner in this project, Superintendent Dr. Rodney Shotwell stated, “I’ve heard parents first hand voice their frustrations for their students and their schoolwork. This project will allow our students of all backgrounds the opportunity to grow into professionals without the obstacle of inconstant or unreliable internet.” Dr. Mark Kinlaw, President of Rockingham Community College echoed the importance of broadband at the college level as well, stating, “Collegiate education has changed dramatically in terms of how instruction is delivered, particularly from a technological standpoint. Having high speed internet access is critical for pursuing a degree or credential in college. This initiative will help to open doors for many of our residents that they currently do not have, and that is exciting.”

   To find additional information related to this project, see if their address is included, or report that their address does not have broadband internet access, citizens are encouraged to visit www.rockinghamcountync.gov/broadband.