Young Harris, Georgia – Blue Ridge Mountain EMC (BRMEMC) announced today, Wednesday, February 9, that construction will begin on its state-of-the-art fiber-optic internet service in the Hanging Dog and Grape Creek areas of Cherokee County, North Carolina.
In December 2017, BRMEMC was awarded $3 million through the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Community Connect Grant program to expand its fiber optic network to the Hanging Dog and Grape Creek areas. The expansion was brought to a halt after an archeological study was requested due to some portions of the project being in close proximity to the Trail of Tears. After four years and many urgent requests from BRMEMC to USDA to complete the required study, the approval to proceed finally came late January 2022. BRMEMC will be working closely with the Tribal Historic Preservation Office of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (EBCI) throughout the project to ensure that sensitive culturally significant assets are protected.
As a result of this project approximately 1,000 residents in the Hanging Dog and Grape Creek communities will gain access to BRMEMC’s Gigabit fiber optic network. Residents are encouraged to sign up now to ensure their home and/or business is not delayed in receiving service once construction is completed, and to ensure they receive their fiber connection with no up-front costs.
“This is an exciting time for residents in Hanging Dog and Grape Creek. These folks have waited a long time for fiber internet service to come to them. This is a rural and under-served area that deserves to have the same fast and reliable internet service that others nationwide enjoy. BRMEMC is proud to be the conduit for broadband service in this community,” said Director of Broadband Alex King.
The timeframe for building fiber under this grant is two years, which means that not everyone will get service immediately. BRMEMC will commit resources to complete the fiber expansion within this two year window, but we will also be lighting up homes and businesses as we go. Furthermore, BRMEMC will be establishing a Community Computing Center located at the Hanging Dog General Store to allow residents who do not yet have access to high-speed service to access free computers connected to the network. Residents can sign up to receive this fiber service at brmemc.com/hangingdog or call (706) 379-3121.
For more information on BRMEMC fiber internet services visit brmemc.com/fiber and follow BRMEMC on social media.
About Blue Ridge Mountain EMC
Blue Ridge Mountain Electric Membership Corporation (BRMEMC) is a member-owned electric cooperative headquartered in Young Harris, Georgia, serving over 56,000 member-customers in Cherokee and Clay Counties in Western North Carolina, and Towns, Union and Fannin Counties in Northeast Georgia. Organized locally in 1937, BRMEMC has invested well over $300 million in physical infrastructure in its mission to provide reliable electric and broadband services to its members where those services would not otherwise have been available.