Internet

The Lincoln County Commission has unanimously approved $1 million incentive for the county’s five broadband providers who applied and receives one of the state’s broadband grants. The incentive comes from American Rescue Plan funds.

The funds will allow providers to help underserved or not served Lincoln County residents will broadband installation.

Broadband providers in Lincoln County include Fayetteville Public Utilities, Charter Spectrum, Mediacom, Ardmore Telephone Companies and United Communications. All providers were contacted by Lincoln County outlining the county government’s support.

“Hopefully all five applied for the grant,” Lincoln County Mayor Bill Newman said. “And hopefully all of them will get a portion by putting broadband where we don’t have it in Lincoln County.”

Currently, Newman said about 5,000 residences either have no internet or inadequate internet service. Those residences are approximately one-third of total residences, he said.

“There’s about 16,000 residences in Lincoln County, so nearly a third of them have no internet,” he said.

When one of the providers runs broadband internet to a residence and it is ready to connect, the provider will receive $200 from the $1 million set aside, according to Newman.

“The grant’s they (the providers) applied for are a 70/30 grant,” Newman said. “They will get 70% of the estimated cost of running the broadband. Then they are responsible for the other 30%. So, this (incentive) will be helping them with the 30% that is their cost.”