$8.1 Million USDA Reconnect Grant Connects Rural Awendaw and Huger



MONCKS CORNER, SC May 17, 2021 — The benefits of the $8.1 million Rural Development Broadband ReConnect grant Home Telecom won from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is paying off! Now, more than 400 homes in the rural Awendaw and Huger communities are able to access gigabit speed internet!

The ReConnect grant is part of an effort to close the digital divide between rural communities and access to the broadband technology they need. This grant provides the federal government with an opportunity to partner with the private telecommunications sector to build a modern fiber-optic infrastructure to give rural residents the ability to receive gigabit speeds. In many cases, these communities have never had access to even 10 Mbps internet.
reconnect grant
PICTURED: Marilyn Brown is Home Telecom's first customer to receive Fiber internet services as part of the ReConnect grant project.

In addition to providing high-speed internet to previously unserved residents in those areas, Home Telecom has also been working to convert any existing customers with DSL speeds to Fiber as well.

There are many rural communities like Awendaw and Huger with small populations of only a few thousand residents. Although these communities may be small in terms of residents, they offer significant cultural, environmental, agricultural, and educational benefits to the South Carolina Lowcountry.

The USDA is matching Home Telecom’s significant initial financial investment of $8.1 million to the expansion, bringing the total project investment to $16 million.

The ReConnect grant was designed to help create or improve high-speed broadband infrastructure to thousands of rural households, farms, businesses, educational facilities, and fire stations in those areas. Families like the Brown family in Huger will greatly benefit from high-speed internet and Home Telecom’s full suite of services including Security, Home Automation, Video, and Phone.

“Today, Home Telecom welcomes new and existing Awendaw and Huger customers into the world of high-speed internet,” said Home Telecom President and CEO William S. Helmly. “And we celebrate the addition of many more Lowcountry communities that have needed advanced broadband services for a long time into the Home Telecom family.”

Helmly continues, “We are also grateful for the USDA partnership that has allowed us to provide access to high-quality, high-speed connectivity in rural areas of the Lowcountry. This grant fits perfectly into our mission to ‘GigUp Tri-County.’ 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.”

Awendaw and Huger are the first steps in the massive expansion of hundreds of miles of fiber-optic infrastructure Home Telecom is building. The same services will soon reach into communities like Honey Hill, McClellanville, and areas of Cross and Sandridge.