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ERC was a subrecipient to MCNC for the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP). MCNC applied for and received two awards totaling $104 million of which $15 million was awarded to the ERC. Combined with $40 million in private matching funds – made possible by the Golden LEAF Foundation ($24 million), the MCNC Endowment ($8 million), FRC ($4 million), and another $4 million through the ERC, individual community colleges, universities, and others – the ERC acquired and constructed over 100 miles of fiber optic cable infrastructure in six western north carolina counties (Buncombe, Madison, Yancey, Mitchell, Avery, and McDowell) with the total project adding over 1,700 miles of new fiber optic cable construction across the state. The purpose of these awards was to expand broadband infrastructure and improve access for businesses and residents in underserved areas of the state. In addition, by bringing community anchor institutions on to this newly expanded network, significant savings can be realized for the state and its constituents. No direct funding from the State of North Carolina was used.