Grants for faster internet now available to small businesses

Grants for faster internet now available to small businesses
Commissioners Doug Howard, R-District 5; Stephen Wantz, R-District 1; Dennis Frazier, R-District 3; and Richard Weaver, R-District 2, approved opening the Carroll Broadband Grant at the Board of County Commissioners meeting this week. Commissioner Richard Rothschild was absent. (Jennifer Turiano)

Small businesses across the county will now be eligible to apply for Carroll Broadband Grants to bring high-speed internet to their enterprises.

The Board of County Commissioners approved for the Technology and Economic Development departments to begin rolling out the $200,000 program on Thursday, May 17 at its weekly meeting.


“With growing business technology needs and emerging international business opportunities, every business needs a competitive advantage like Carroll Broadband high-speed internet access,” said Economic Development Director Jack Lyburn in a statement Thursday.

And to make sure information about the grant goes to more than just those businesses that are online and have the connections already to expand their networks, commissioners said they are making a committment to spread the word in a variety of ways.

Commissioner Doug Howard, R-District 5, said his experience in small business has shown him that those who are in-the-know are in one circle, and everyone else is left out.

He’s been left out of “the circle” before, and said he wants to make sure a strong marketing plan is in place to make sure all eligible businesses find out about the grant and have a fair opportunity to apply for it.

“We’ve got a million-dollar small business loan that no one knows about,” Howard said. “You'd think we’d get 20 applications a week — and most of the money is still siting in the bank account.”

I wouldn’t be saying this “if we didnt have other programs sitting out here with the same exact challenges,” he said. “We don't need another program that's not being executed.”

For now, the first half of the grant money will be available for applicants, and after a review is performed and report is prepared with results, commissioners will authorize releasing the rest of the funds.

News releases and other information about the broadband grant will be sent through the Economic Development newsletter, social media, and 20 partner organizations including all of the county’s towns and economic development contacts, said Economic Development Dept. Deputy Director Denise Beaver.

“That would include all the business associations, of which there are over 12 of those,” she said. “So we will let them know, so they can help push out that information as well to their membership.

“We will certainly be involving [Carroll County Community College] Miller and [the Small Business Development Center], and the Carroll County Chamber of Commerce, Carroll Tech Council for small business contacts … as well as reaching out to all the internet service providers, which we do have listed on the website.”

More information on the Carroll Broadband Grant — as well as Carroll County’ fiber-optic network and plans for expansion — can be found on the Carroll County Department of Economic Development website,