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Press Releases

Avery County Receives Grant From Appalachian Regional Commission to Expand Broadband Access

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…

2018 Avery Chamber Golf Classic Winners-Linville Golf Club

2018 Avery Chamber Golf Classic Winners-Linville Golf Club

Congratulations May 14, 2018 Avery Chamber Golf Classic Winners Linville Golf Club, Linville, NC On behalf of the Avery Chamber we sincerely “Thank” everyone who made this event possible! Host and Event Sponsors: Pictured (L-R) Keith Crain, Head Professional of Linville Golf Club; Melynda M. Pepple, Executive Director of Avery Chamber of Commerce; Tom Dale, Director of Golf of Linville Golf Club; Scott Wallace, Assistant Professional of Linville Golf Club Corporate Sponsors: Pictured (L-R) Todd Elledge, Director of Marketing of Carolina West Wireless; Edward Hinson, Executive Director of Competitive Operations of SkyLine/ SkyBest 1st Place Winners 1st Place “GROSS” Winner (L-R) Jason Eldreth, Carter Dishman, Roscoe Millsaps, John Malone 1st Place “NET Winner (L-R) Scott Boyles, Jeff Craver, Neil Cornatzer, Mark Hollingsworth -Not Pictured 2018 Golf Classic Results CLICK…

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 director@averycounty.com 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 – RFP…

Leadership Avery Kicks Off 2018

Leadership Avery Kicks Off 2018

The Avery Chamber is now taking applications for 2018 class of Leadership Avery – come learn about county businesses, agencies, organizations, and resources and how they work, both individually and together, to run our county.

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