Home Telecom Wins $2 Million Rural Broadband Expansion Grant Targeted at Berkeley County
MONCKS CORNER, SC July 27, 2021— Home Telecom has been awarded a state grant by the South Carolina Office of Regulatory Staff (ORS) to expand rural broadband projects in Berkeley County. Home Telecom is one of 16 internet providers in 22 counties in South Carolina who applied for and won the $2 million funding for their County.
Earlier this year, the Joint Bond Review Committee approved the allocation of $30 million for a competitive rural infrastructure grant program to be administered by ORS in coordination with the South Carolina Department of Commerce. The entire project will cost $4 million to complete. ORS will contribute $2 million after Home Telecom’s generous $2 million investment of their own capital funds.
“The state put up about $30 million, and the private sector matched that with another $30 million,” said William S. Helmly, CEO of Home Telecom. Helmly continues, “It’s a pot of money that’s been around for a couple of years and was targeted for rural areas like the I-95 corridor. There have been a bunch of false starts on the program, but we think when the project is done, it’s going to have a huge impact on those communities in rural Berkeley County.”
One of Home Telecom’s stated missions is to expand fiber infrastructure and broadband access to rural areas in Charleston, Dorchester, and Berkeley counties. Home Telecom has previously worked with ORS to provide broadband services to over 500 unserved residences, businesses and critical facilities in Berkeley and Dorchester counties. Using the previous funding they received along with their own capital investment, Home Telecom was able to complete this expansion as scheduled.
The additional $2 million grant funding and ORS’ generous match for Berkeley County specifically, fast-tracks Home Telecom’s efforts to further impact rural residents. The additional approximate 100 miles of fiber that will be installed will make cutting edge services available to nearly 2,000 residents in Pineville, Jamestown, and Huger areas of South Carolina.
According to broadband experts, when compared to installing the traditional above-ground cable, burying fiber optic lines can cost Home Telecom as much as $40,000 per mile, versus $28,000 per mile to attach cable to a telephone pole. That presents an economic challenge when it can require several miles of fiber to reach only a half dozen homes in a small community.
Home Telecom equates today’s need for quality internet connectivity in today’s highly communicative world, to people in rural America getting access to electrical power in the 1930s.
In fact, high speed internet became essential to keeping people informed during the pandemic with businesses and schools closed, and some families’ only means of income required working from home.
Home Telecom is dedicated to continue investing in and pursuing these opportunities to ensure their community neighbors are connected to the internet service they need.