ERC is a project of the Education and Research Consortium of the Western Carolinas, Inc.

Offering Fiber-Based Network Services

ERC provides fiber-based network services to the Western Carolina region. Our fiber optic network allows us to provide fast, reliable, and secure services to our clients in multiple locations.

We Are Locally Focused

We are a locally focused non-profit organization that works in the areas of education, healthcare, government, and economic development.

Promoting Technology

ERC’s goal is to promote the adoption of new technologies in order to advance the growth of the broader community.


Former Congressman Charles H. Taylor identified a need to expand western North Carolina’s and Upstate South Carolina’s educational technology-focused infrastructure. After meeting with regional college presidents it was determined an organization should exist to fulfill this need.


The Education and Research Consortium of the Western Carolinas, Inc. is granted its 501(c) (3) status.


The ERC receives $4.3 million from the Library of Congress to begin construction of a regional fiber optic network. This grant was awarded to serve public, private and non-profit concerns and community anchor institutions by providing the same level of broadband access available in larger cities as well as promoting the growth of the technological infrastructure in the region.

APRIL 2003

The ERC opens its first Point of Presence (PoP), in Asheville, North Carolina. Today, this center is connected to Tier 1 and Tier 2 partners providing broadband connectivity and related services.


The ERC receives $10 million from the Library of Congress to further expand the network focusing on building out a redundant optical backbone in the region.


The ERC partners with Advantage West to utilize a grant from the Rural Internet Access Authority to extend the network into Madison, Yancey, and Mitchell counties.


As a participant of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the ERC is awarded federal stimulus funds as a sub-recipient to MCNC. Funds were directed to the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) for the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP) to fund broadband infrastructure expansion, and ‘the GoldenLEAF Rural Broadband Initiative’ (GLRBI) was created. The GLRBI is valued at $105 million with $75.75 million coming from BTOP, $24 million from the GoldenLEAF Foundation, and $6.25 million in other cash and in-kind donations from private sources. The GLRBI will construct approximately 1500 miles of new fiber across 69 counties with 100 miles being added to the ERC network.

JULY 2013

ERC completes their portion of the GLRBI. Through this grant the ERC was able to connect and serve over 50 western North Carolina community anchor institutions (CAIs) including educational institutions, local government facilities, hospitals, healthcare agencies, and more in Buncombe, Madison, Avery, Yancey, McDowell and Mitchell counties.


We are sincerely grateful to these individuals for there investment of time and wisdom.

Troy Tolle, Board Chair // Chief Technology Officer, DigitalChalk

Don Cline // President, Pisgah Astronomical Research Institute

Paul Maurer // President, Montreat College

John Connet // City Manager, City of Hendersonville, NC