ERC Broadband is a part of the Education and Research Consortium of the Western Carolinas, Inc.
(ERC), a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization. The ERC began in 1997 when Congressman Charles H. Taylor of the 11th Congressional District of North Carolina called a meeting of regional college presidents to discuss plans for expanding Western North Carolina's and Upstate South Carolina's technology-focused infrastructure. The board of the resulting non-profit organization is currently comprised of the presidents of Brevard College, Mars Hill College, Montreat College, Western Carolina University, and a member of the local business community.
The focus of the ERC is to further economic development in the Western Carolinas through education, infrastructure, and capital development. In February 2003, a $4.3 million grant was awarded through the Library of Congress to begin the construction of a regional fiber optic network to expand the technological infrastructure for the region. The plan for the network is collaboration among public, private, and non-profit concerns to bring the same level of broadband access available in larger cities to the rural Western Carolinas. By furthering the region's access, the ERC will be a conduit for improved educational programs, health care, economic development opportunities, arts/culture programs, and overall quality-of-life improvements.
In April 2003, ERC Broadband opened its first Point of Presence (POP) in Asheville, NC, which today is connected to Tier 1 and Tier 2 partners providing broadband connectivity and related services. In November 2003, an additional $10 million grant from the Library of Congress allowed ERC Broadband to expand the network and create a fully resilient, geographically diverse, fully protected and redundant optical backbone in Upstate South Carolina and Western North Carolina with two rings in Asheville. The ERC Broadband network is scalable, fully upgradeable, and state-of-the-art, making it highly adaptable to future technological changes.
The network has also been able to grow through a grant from Rural Internet Access Authority funds awarded through Advantage West to extend the ERC Broadband network to Madison, Yancey, and Mitchell counties. In August 2010, to further ERC's mission, ERC Broadband was awarded a grant to extend its network by over 100 additional miles of fiber as a sub-recipient to MCNC for their American Recovery and Reinvestment Act grant request entitled ‘the Golden LEAF Rural Broadband Initiative’. This investment in WNC comes from the Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration. ERC Broadband will add fiber in five Western North Carolina counties. Congressman Heath Shuler, NC eleventh district, championed the ERC's effort in the award. Congressman Shuler has vigorously supported rural telecommunications expansion for his constituents throughout his tenure by working closely with local broadband companies to further needed infrastructure.
ERC Broadband is committed to improving the technological infrastructure of the Western Carolinas. With a focus on economic development through education, research, and government projects, ERC Broadband is not only bringing the Internet to the rural Western Carolinas, but also bringing next generation Internet and advanced technology to the region. We offer a wide range of communications services in support of the region.
For more information call 1-828-350-2415 or send us an e-mail.