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ECC Receives State Funds to Strengthen Technology

Santa came early this year at Edgecombe Community College.

The College recently received more than $850,000 for the Rural College Broadband Access project from the North Carolina Community College System to address technology needs, access, and security.

This funding will assist ECC with critical information technology infrastructure and network security improvements.

ECC will use the funds in coordination with the NC Department of Information Technology, the Microelectronics Center of North Carolina, and the NC Community College System to strengthen fiber optics to enable future internet speeds of 10G on both the Tarboro and Rocky Mount campuses. Funds also will be used to upgrade campus WiFi and enhance outdoor wireless capabilities.

According to the NC Department of Commerce, Edgecombe County is the most economically distressed county in the state. Experts say that more than one out of every three households in the county has no internet access, which puts many Edgecombe Community College students at a disadvantage, especially during the pandemic when a majority of classes are online. For these students, access provided by the College is a critical lifeline.

College officials surveyed students early in the pandemic, and a majority of their concerns were tied to technology. To meet their needs, campus libraries have remained open to current students who lack access. In addition, with the help of private donations, the College purchased Chromebooks to lend to students who lack devices.

“At no time in the history of Edgecombe Community College has funding to strengthen our technology resources been more critical or more appreciated,” says ECC President Dr. Greg McLeod. “This funding will assist ECC beyond measure to advance the College and to benefit our students and their families.”