Tech company finishes rural broadband project

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Associated Press

Posted on August 13, 2013 at 4:06 AM

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — A North Carolina technology company says it has completed a $144 million project expanding broadband service to rural parts of the state.

The nonprofit MCNC builds, owns and operates the North Carolina Research and Education Network.

For more than 25 years, a growing number of research, education, health care and community institutions have connected to the network.

MCNC president Joe Freddoso said Monday that the completion of the last phase will open up more available broadband service in rural North Carolina.

The fiber-based network now spans 2,600 miles

"What we've basically done in North Carolina is built the interstate highway system for broadband throughout the state," Freddosa said.

The project received money from a variety of agencies, including the U.S. Department of Commerce and the Golden LEAF Foundation. It was necessary because institutions on the network have been using more and more bandwidth.

"The institutions were collectively doubling their demand for bandwidth the last few years - and we simply didn't have the infrastructure in rural North Carolina to keep up with that demand," Freddosa said.

He said the initiative should open up more high-speed service in rural North Carolina.

"This broadband infrastructure has been a key in economic development and attracting companies. So hopefully the fact that we have a lot of infrastructure available in rural North Carolina will be a great economic development tool for the state," he said.

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