Upcountry Fiber to Build Broadband Infrastructure in Underserved Areas of Pickens County to Reach More Than 9,100 Addresses

Pickens, SC – March 25, 2024 – Underserved areas of Pickens County in parts of the Liberty, Dacusville and Six Mile areas will soon have access to broadband internet through internet service provider, Upcountry Fiber, a partnership between Blue Ridge Electric Co-op (BREC) and WCFIBER. A $12.18 million federal grant designated by the South Carolina Broadband Office (SCBBO) will allow Upcountry Fiber to continue to fulfill its mission to help bridge the “digital divide” where little to no access exists. Upcountry Fiber will invest an additional $5.57 million, resulting in a total cost of $17,752,301 for the project.

Nearly 1,400 Pickens County underserved addresses identified by SCBBO that currently do not have access to broadband internet service are included in the grant. An additional 7,760 addresses surrounding them will be able to sign up for broadband internet service before the end of 2025 due to the investment that Upcountry Fiber is making towards the project.  Residents will be notified of construction and order timelines in the coming weeks.

Upon completion of this construction project mainly funded by this grant, Upcountry Fiber will have invested approximately $70 million since its inception in broadband construction to areas of Pickens County that have been previously underserved. The total investment Upcountry Fiber has made since 2021 will result in the construction of 1,500 miles of fiber that will pass nearly 25,000 eligible addresses in the Sunset, Shady Grove, Pumpkintown, Rocky Bottom, Central, Six Mile, Norris, Liberty, and Dacusville by the end of 2025.

“Broadband access is critical to Pickens County’s growth. We are so thankful for the South Carolina Broadband Office grant that was awarded to Upcountry Fiber to help bring this required utility for today’s world to our community,” said Pickens County Council Chair Chris Bowers.

“Upcountry Fiber offers symmetrical internet speeds up to 10 Gbps over a fiber network, which is the fastest and most reliable high-speed internet on the market,” said Jeff Wilson, president and CEO of WCTEL. “Thanks to the South Carolina Broadband Office, people in the areas around Liberty in Pickens County will soon have access to this necessary utility, which will help them increase their economic development and educational opportunities.”

“Pickens County is our home, and we are proud to continue to serve this traditionally underserved area with broadband internet,” said Jim Lovinggood, president and CEO of Blue Ridge Electric Cooperative. “The South Carolina Broadband Office grant helps us speed up the timeline to build a better, more competitive environment for people who live and work in the areas around Liberty.”

For more information about Upcountry Fiber, visit www.UpcountryFiber.com.

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