HILLSBOROUGH – Fiber optic network operator Lumos is rolling out its internet services in Orange County, having installed the first miles of a planned 1,000-mile backbone with $10 million in funding through a grant from the county.

Lumos, which is based in Highpoint, is expanding its services across multiple communities across the state, including the recent additions of Burlington and Mebane. Last year it announced a $50 million commitment to install fiber in Durham and Orange Counties. Lumos also recently secured more than $1 billion in financing to support its expansion.

Some 400 addresses in Orange “are ready for service at this time,” Lumos says. It plans to reach more than 28,000 over time.

Kick-starting the network is funding from the county through an Orange County American Rescue Plan Act grant to help reach 6,300 homes that do not have internet broadband access.

Private-public partners

Brian Stading, Lumos’ CEO, helped kick off the service on Tuesday. “Today’s launch is a stellar example of a successful public-private partnership as Lumos and Orange County have creatively collaborated to exceed the project’s original scope to reach more unserved and underserved households throughout the county,” he said.

Lumos’ network also will link some two dozen county-owned facilities.

“This project will help ensure that Orange County residents have access to affordable, high-speed Internet,” said Jamezetta Bedford, chair of the Orange County Board of Commissioners. “The pandemic highlighted how important reliable Internet service is for our children’s education, for small businesses, for public health and for other critical needs for our residents. Improving Internet access for our rural areas has long been a priority for the Board of Commissioners, our state delegation, and we are truly excited to be taking the lead in providing this critical piece of infrastructure throughout the county. We appreciate the federal ARPA funds supporting this partnership.”

The county’s Board of Commissioners  created a Broadband Task Force in 2021 to help drive broadband access in rural areas.

More Lumos news

Lumos Fiber, which is expanding NC network, lands $1.1B in new financing

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