Public-private partnership delivers fiber broadband to Orange County, N.C.

May 18, 2022
NorthState will begin work shortly this month to initiate the process of installing approximately 990 miles of fiber in the county, using funding from the American Rescue Plan Act.

Broadband operator NorthState and North Carolina's Orange County board of commissioners last month announced a public-private partnership to bring high-speed fiber internet services to approximately 28,000 homes and businesses in the county.

NorthState will begin work shortly this month to initiate the process of installing approximately 990 miles of fiber in Orange County. Service is planned to be available to some areas as early as spring 2023.

The project, cited as one of the largest public-private partnerships focues on fiber infrastructure in the state's history, is made possible by significant investments from both NorthState and Orange County. The county board of commissioners voted unanimously on approval for the plan last month.

Closing the digital divide

Notably in the deployment, Orange County is using funding from the American Rescue Plan Act to provide fiber service to close to 10,000 addresses that currently have little or no internet service in unserved and underserved areas.

As part of its partnership with Orange County, NorthState said it will also provide fiber internet service to approximately two dozen county-owned anchor institutions, including fire stations, EMS and community centers.

NorthState CEO Diego Anderson commented, “We thank the Orange County Board of Commissioners for selecting NorthState for this crucial community project to help close the digital divide. For those in Orange County who currently have little or no access to fiber internet, this project will be life-changing. NorthState and Orange County are jointly making large investments in Orange County by installing a fiber-optic network that is future-proof, one that will fuel continuing growth and expanded economic opportunities.”

NorthState’s own investment expands the project and will result in much greater access to fiber technology and a competitive choice for fiber service for the additional 18,000 Orange County homes and businesses, according to a statement by the broadband operator.

“Orange County is a key part of NorthState’s commitment to empowering communities with 100% fiber-to-the-home access,” Anderson continued. “And we’re just getting started. NorthState is actively looking for opportunities to partner with communities to bring ultra-high-speed fiber internet to additional areas.”

'Broadband isn’t a luxury item'

NorthState notes its product offering in Orange County "will offer speeds up to 2000 Mbps x 2000 Mbps — equating to 154x faster uploads and 12x faster downloads than traditional cable," as cited by the operator. Residents in the expansion areas will receive communications by mail before construction begins and again when the service is available to order.

“Improving access to high-speed internet to all areas of the county is a priority for the board of commissioners, and we are excited to begin this project using $10 million of the county’s American Rescue Plan Act funding. Orange County is leading the way in crafting a solution to this problem that challenges so many counties,” said Orange County commissioner Sally Greene, who co-chaired the Orange County Broadband Task Force along with commissioner Earl McKee.

“Broadband isn’t a luxury item, it’s an essential need for everyday living,” concluded McKee. “What we have learned in the past two years is that high-speed internet is vital for improving educational success for children, for public health and for public safety, to grow small businesses and for our residents who may need to work remotely.” 

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About the Author

Cabling Installation & Maintenance Staff

Cabling Installation & Maintenance publishes news and technical information for information and communications technology (ICT) professionals.

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