$40 Million for Virtual Learners, $32 million for the GREAT Grant

Governor Cooper shared that $40 million in state funding will go to North Carolina students who aren’t able to connect to consistent or affordable virtual learning through the NC Connect Partnership. 


Bringing high-speed broadband to the “last mile” in North Carolina is extremely cumbersome and expensive, even for a state ranking 9th in internet access. This partnership between many North Carolina state departments and private sector investments will provide the following for NC families:


  • $8 million for high-speed broadband sites across the states for students to access education requirements
  • 100,000 internet hot-spots for students to comply with online learning requirements at home ($30 million)
  • Professional development and training for educators to assist families with virtual learning ($2 million)


The GREAT Grant program, which has prioritized broadband access for rural and Tier 1 and Tier 2 counties since 2018, has received $32 million additional dollars from CARES Act funding during the COVID-19 pandemic. 


The NC Broadband Infrastructure office (have you taken their NC broadband survey yet? Take it here) has opened their grant application until October 14th. Internet service providers in approved counties can apply to help increase high-speed broadband to North Carolinians.



These two programs are working together to address much needed digital access and adoption grants for North Carolinian students and families during the pandemic. 


The Institute for Emerging Issues has just announced our second round of Band-NC grant recipients. Congratulations to these communities figuring out their county-wide digital inclusion plan!

IEI will also be hosting a series of three virtual ReCONNECT to Move Forward meetings this fall, starting September 24th. Our second virtual meeting is about a “Digitally Inclusive North Carolina” and we excitedly welcome you to join us in the next few weeks.