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Expanding The NC Broadband Highway

Broadband internet, computers,

A North Carolina public broadband network is touting a grant it's using to expand its bandwidth and reach into rural communities. 

The group MCNC is celebrating the $144 million grant from the Golden Leaf Foundation Monday.  Gov. Pat McCrory is expected to attend the event. 

MCNC president and CEO Joe Freddoso says the broadband industry needs public-private partnerships and more affordable options to grow.

"One of the things that we're providing through what we've built is helping to reduce a significant part of that cost equation for the private sector providers, and that will be one piece of making it easier to deploy in that last mile," Freddoso says.

MCNC operates the North Carolina Research and Education Network, which provides broadband to universities, non-profits and health care providers. 

An Internet service report from the FCC says North Carolina ranks last in the country in the percentage of households that have fixed connections with download speeds of at least 3 Mbps.  That number does not include mobile connections.

Will Michaels is WUNC's General Assignment Reporter and fill-in host for "Morning Edition"
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