NorthState, Orange County partner to provide 100% fiber-optic internet service to underserved areas
NorthState and Orange County have announced a public-private partnership to bring ultra-high-speed fiber internet service to approximately 28,000 homes and businesses in Orange County, North Carolina, including nearly 10,000 locations that currently have little or no internet service. The project, one of the largest fiber infrastructure public-private partnerships in N.C.’s history, is made possible by significant investments from both NorthState and Orange County. The Orange County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously on approval Tuesday evening.
Orange County is using funding from the American Rescue Plan Act to provide fiber service to close to 10,000 addresses in unserved and underserved areas. NorthState’s own investment expands the project and will result in access to best-in-class fiber technology and a competitive choice for fiber service for the additional 18,000 Orange County homes and businesses.
As part of its partnership with Orange County, NorthState will also provide fiber internet service to approximately two dozen county-owned anchor institutions, including fire stations, EMS and community centers.
NorthState will begin work within weeks to initiate the process of installing approximately 990 miles of fiber in Orange County; service is planned to be available to some areas as early as spring 2023.
“We thank the Orange County Board of Commissioners for selecting NorthState for this crucial community project to help close the digital divide. For those in Orange County who currently have little or no access to fiber internet, this project will be life-changing. It’s simply the fastest internet available,” NorthState CEO Diego Anderson said. “NorthState and Orange County are jointly making large investments in Orange County by installing a fiber-optic network that is future-proof, one that will fuel continuing growth and expanded economic opportunities.”
“Orange County is a key part of NorthState’s commitment to empowering communities with 100% fiber-to-the-home access,” Anderson added. “And we’re just getting started. NorthState is actively looking for opportunities to partner with communities to bring ultra-high-speed fiber internet to additional areas.”
“Improving access to high-speed internet to all areas of the county is a priority for the Board of Commissioners, and we are excited to begin this project using $10 million of the county’s American Rescue Plan Act funding,” said Orange County Commissioner Sally Greene, who co-chaired the Orange County Broadband Task Force along with Commissioner Earl McKee. “Orange County is leading the way in crafting a solution to this problem that challenges so many counties."
“Broadband isn’t a luxury item, it’s an essential need for everyday living,” said McKee. “What we have learned in the past two years is that high-speed internet is vital for improving educational success for children, for public health and for public safety, to grow small businesses and for our residents who may need to work remotely.”
NorthState’s product offering in Orange County will offer speeds up to 2000 Mbps x 2000 Mbps — equating to 154x faster uploads and 12x faster downloads than traditional cable. Residents in the expansion areas will receive communications by mail before construction begins and again when the service is available to order. Consumers can sign up for email updates at NorthState.net.
NorthState provides ultra-high-speed fiber internet service, wall-to-wall Wi-Fi, voice, and streaming services to nearly 200,000 homes and businesses in North Carolina and Virginia, where we’re known as Lumos. Our customers enjoy the fastest, symmetrical gig speeds available built on a 100% fiber-optic network they can truly count on — all backed by local, expert customer care teams. Learn more at NorthState.net.
About the Orange County Broadband Task Force
The Orange County Broadband Task Force began meeting in March 2021 to design a strategy for expanding reliable high-speed internet services throughout the underserved areas of the county. When ARPA funding became available for Broadband, the task force designed the RFP that was released in September 2021 and created a scoring matrix to review the submissions.