Gov. Roy Cooper announced on Thursday July 6th that 25,825 households and 862 businesses in 33 counties will get high speed internet thanks to an 80-million-dollar GREAT grant. The GREAT (Growing Rural Economics with Access to Technology) grant is the second round of grants which totaled 269-million-dollars in 2022 in a program started by Cooper in 2018 to close the “digital divide”. In Jackson County, Balsam West Fibernet was awarded 2.4 million-dollars to serve an additional 636 customers. The funds were made available by the American Rescue Plan Act which was signed into law on March 11th, 2021, providing 1.9-Trillion-Dollars from the COVID19 and Economic Relief Funds. The Jackson County Commissioners will be required to provide matching funds to expand this infrastructure development even further.