Cherokee County to expand broadband to 1,500 homes

December 9, 2021 GMT

GAFFNEY, S.C. (AP) — A South Carolina county is partnering with a telecommunications company to expand broadband access to nearly 1,500 homes and small businesses in rural areas.

Cherokee County will invest $3 million in the expansion effort, with Charter Communications funding the rest, officials announced Thursday.

The expansion project will yield 173 miles (278.42 kilometers) of network infrastructure to bring high-speed internet service to the unserved areas, according to a news release.

About 4,500 homes and small businesses don’t have internet service in the county, which has a total population of about 56,000.

Charter Communications has already received more than $3 million from the Federal Communications Commission to help connect about 3,000 of those locations to high-speed internet.

Broadband expansion became a focal point in the state legislature as the COVID-19 pandemic pushed school days and business meetings online, highlighting gaps between urban and richer areas with better internet access and poorer, less populated areas without such access.

The project will help boost the county’s economic development as well, said Cherokee County administrator Steve Bratton.

The expansion is slated to begin at the start of next year.