Pickens, SC – June 20, 2023 - Upcountry Fiber, the internet service provider created by utility cooperatives Blue Ridge Electric Co-op (BREC) and WCFIBER, a subsidiary of West Carolina Rural Telephone Cooperative (WCTEL), announced it is ahead of its construction schedule due to, in part, additional ARPA funds awarded by Broadband Office of South Carolina’s Office of Regulatory Staff (ORS).
Currently, Upcountry Fiber has more than 400 active miles of broadband fiber internet under construction, with an additional 515 miles that have already been completed this year. Since construction began in 2020, Upcountry Fiber has completed more than 1,900 miles of fiber and has approximately 11,000 customer orders, the majority of which are in rural and underserved rural areas. The project, which was initially forecasted to take five years based on both utility companies’ investment, has been fast tracked due to the infusion of ARPA funds.
Specifically, Upcountry Fiber’s team has started construction in varying phases in the following areas:
⦁ Oconee County – Coneross, Fair Play, Long Creek, Mountain Rest, Oakway, and Salem
⦁ Pickens County – Rocky Bottom area in Northern Pickens County above Highway 11 and Shady Grove
⦁ Northern Greenville County – Marietta
“The message we want people in these areas to know is that we are coming, sooner than originally anticipated,” said Jim Lovinggood, president and CEO of BREC. “We can’t thank ORS enough for designating ARPA funds so that people and organizations in unserved and underserved communities throughout the Upstate can have access to this vital utility.”
“At halfway through the year, we have reached our annual goal for 11,000 people have access to our high-speed broadband internet service so that businesses can be more competitive and for citizens to have better access to healthcare, education, and job opportunities,” said Jeff Wilson, president and CEO of WCFIBER. “The collaboration between our state government and our industry has made this possible.”
For more information about Upcountry Fiber, visit UpcountryFiber.com and view the following videos:
Upcountry Fiber is a high-speed fiber internet provider to the five counties of Anderson, Greenville, Oconee, Pickens, and Spartanburg. Established in Fall 2020, Upcountry Fiber is the product of a partnership between Blue Ridge Electric Cooperative and WCFIBER, a subsidiary of West Carolina Rural Telephone Cooperative (WCTEL). Founded by organizations created to electrify and connect rural areas of South Carolina; decades later, Upcountry Fiber’s mission is to bridge the digital divide. Offering symmetrical internet speeds up to 1 Gbps over a fiber network, Upcountry Fiber has the fastest and most reliable high-speed internet in the area. To learn more about Upcountry Fiber, visit us at www.UpcountryFiber.com.
For Upcountry Fiber