Avery County was awarded a grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) to expand broadband in the county and North Carolina Wireless (NCW), LLC. a Fixed Wireless Internet Service Provider (WISP) will provide that service.
The grant request was submitted to the ARC by the Avery County Chamber of Commerce a 501 (c) (3) organization whose Executive Director is Ms. Melynda Pepple, on behalf of the citizens of Avery County.
Ms. Pepple was assisted by the Avery County Manager’s Office and the staff of The High Country Council of Governments in developing the grant request to the ARC. The grant was approved in early 2018. ARC’s mission is to innovate, partner, and invest to build community capacity and strengthen economic growth in Appalachia.
The grant is an award of $100,000 for the purpose of expanding broadband service to unserved and underserved areas for Avery County. The grant was awarded with further consideration of serving low-density and low-income areas of the county. Ms. Pepple and the Avery Broadband Committee received early guidance from the NC Department of IT to assist in identifying the unserved and underserved areas.
After approval of the grant, a competitive process was utilized to select and Internet Service Provider to partner with the Chamber to implement the project. All methods of delivery of broadband services were considered (coax, fiber, and wireless etc).
It was determined that Fixed Wireless was the most cost-effective method and provided the most coverage for the unserved homes in Avery County. “The Broadband Committee determined that NCW with their branded ‘LightLeap’ service offered the most complete and comprehensive plan for delivering the project” stated Ms. Pepple.
NCW President Bill Shillito stated “We are proud and humbled to accept this award of funds; proud that the Avery Broadband Committee recognized the value that we bring to the project and humbled by the fact that the Broadband Committee identified us as offering the best and most effective approach to meet the grant’s aims. We will work hard to fulfill the aims of the grant. We are ably assisted by our local partner Mr. Doug Gragg, owner of Highland Electronics (Radio Shack), who serves as our sales and service team for Avery County. They are located at 520 Pineola St, Newland, NC 28657 and can be reached at (828) 733-5718. Mr. Gragg continues to go above and beyond his role in assisting NCW with identifying the best methods to deploy our unique capability in all parts of Avery County.”
In response to the project goals, documented demand, and existing tower sites, NCW identified several areas of early focus to expand service to. Those areas include the Jonas Ridge/Pineola and the Linville Falls/Altamont areas as best early focus areas. “Now that the grant is awarded, our staff can and will complete the timelines and progress goals toward accomplishing the aims of the grant” stated Mr. Josh Strickland, CTO for NCW. For more information on LightLeap offerings by NCW including pricing, go to www.lightleap.net. You may complete a service form request at the website to assist NCW in determining demand for expansion in Avery County.
Ms. Pepple stated “Many hours of work by a large number of players went into submitting the request to the ARC and selecting an ISP partner. I wish to thank the vision of the Avery County Commissioners and the Manager’s Office for their support toward this effort. I also wish to thank the Appalachian Regional Commission for seeing the need and providing the funding for this project. The High Country Council of Governments staff provided invaluable guidance and support through this entire process. We look forward to working with NCW to expand broadband in Avery County.”
Avery County Chamber of Commerce Desires to Engage Internet Service Providers for Broadband Expansion
The Avery County Chamber of Commerce has received a grant in the amount of $100,000 from the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) to extend broadband internet service to residential and business customers in unserved and underserved areas of Avery County.
The Chamber is looking for a qualified Partner with the technical expertise and capacity to make available high-speed internet services to as many underserved areas as possible. The qualified Partner would be required to design, build, operate and maintain a broadband network to provide data services. The Partner would also be required to provide a minimum of $100,000 to match the ARC funds
Copies of the detailed request for proposal (RFP), including a description of the services to be provided by respondents, the minimum content of responses, and the factors to be used to evaluate the responses, can be obtained by contacting Melynda Pepple, Director, Avery County Chamber of Commerce, 4501 Tynecastle Highway, Unit #2, Banner Elk, NC 28604 or (828) 898-5605 or firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.averycounty.com/avery-county-press-releases/.
Proposals will be accepted until 5:00 pm March 30, 2018.
The Avery County Chamber of Commerce encourages the submission of proposals from minority- and women-owned firms.
Avery Chamber Now Taking Applications for 2018 Class of Leadership Avery
Who runs Avery County? Who are our leaders—our movers and shakers? What local businesses and organizations are integral to the fabric of everyday life and how do they operate? What resources are available to our citizens? Interested in learning just how Avery County works and being more involved with the county’s current and future leadership? Here is your chance!
This week the Avery Chamber of Commerce announced its third offering of Leadership Avery, a ten-month program developed by Avery County leaders to enlighten participants about county businesses, agencies, organizations, and resources and how they work, both individually and together, to run our county.
The 3rd year class will kick off in March with a class orientation. The sessions will focus on: Education, Nonprofits, Resorts and Tourism, Healthcare, Law, Courts, Government, Media, Small Business/Entrepreneurship, Tree Farms, Local Industry and Wineries/Breweries. The class will wrap up in November with each participant graduating, receiving certification, and enjoying dinner. Participants will walk away with a vastly expanded view of just how Avery County works, excellent knowledge of who to go to for what, and resources to add their own contributions to leadership in our county.
The 2018 class of Leadership Avery will be led by co-chairs YMCA Membership & Marketing Director DeLee Scott and Mountain Glenn Golf Marketing Director, Kathy Rimmer. Both Scott and Rimmer are graduates of the 2017 Leadership Avery class and will bring with them their individual experiences and knowledge gained.
YMCA CEO, 2016 inaugural class participant and past 2017 chair Trey Oakley states, “Leadership Avery not only opened my eyes to how much goes on in our small community, but also introduced me to the people who are behind the majority of it. The type of person that will benefit from Leadership Avery is someone who wants to give back, who wants to be a catalyst for change, and who wants to ensure a brighter future for all in Avery County. I was blessed to be surrounded with individuals concerned with our community and I look forward to growing our alumni base to become a driving force in Avery County’s future.”
Participants must commit to one full day a month in the 9-month program and can miss only one scheduled session. Also, the business they represent must be a member of the Avery County Chamber of Commerce. The cost is $300 and, if the participant is an employee of an area business, in most cases the employer will sponsor or pay the tuition for the participant.
For more information contact Avery County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director:
Melynda Pepple, 828-898-5605, email@example.com.
Applications are due February 28, 2018.