ERC completes its part in the Golden LEAF Rural Broadband Initiative

Asheville, NC (August 13, 2013)– Yesterday, MCNC, the nonprofit operator of the North Carolina Research and Education Network (NCREN), hosted a four city video conference entitled ‘Broadband for the Future’ to announce the completion of the second and final phase of the $144 million Golden LEAF Rural Broadband Initiative (GLRBI). The GLRBI was funded through grants from the US Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration’s (NTIA) Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP). Significant matching funds – required to obtain the grants – came from groups such as the Golden LEAF Foundation ($24 million) and the MCNC Endowment ($10 million). The ERC, a private nonprofit broadband operator based in Asheville, was a subrecipient to MCNC for the GLRBI.

Held simultaneously at the National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, UNC Charlotte, Elizabeth City State University, and the Research Triangle Park MCNC campus, the celebration highlighted many accomplishments such as: the extended NCREN fiber optic network; the enhanced innovation opportunities across the State; the expanded support for  community anchor institutions; the increased opportunties for private sector partnerships.

Biltmore Farms CEO and ERC Board member Jack Cecil and ERC Executive Director Hunter Goosmann gave presentations at the event, along with Thomas Karl from the National Climatic Data Center. Other notable presenters included North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory, NC Representative David Price, NC Congresswoman Renee Ellmers, NC Representative Jason Saine, and Golden LEAF Foundation CEO Dan Gerlach.

The ERC used its grant award to expand the ERC fiber optic footprint across western North Carolina, furthering its mission to increase broadband connectivity and technology adoption across WNC. For more information related to the ERC or the GLRBI, please call Jessica Stavish at (828) 350-2415 or email her at  jstavish@ercwnc.org. You can also find us on the web at www.ercwnc.org. For more information on MCNC, visit www.mcnc.org.