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REGIONALREPORT Western

Connecting the spots
Western North Carolina’s fiber-optic network originally focused on bringing high-speed Internet access to rural schools and libraries. But it has, along with an abundance of land and power, made the region a popular site for data centers.
The network’s roots can be traced to 2003 when:
  • After receiving a $4.2 million grant from the Library of Congress, ERC Broadband, part of Asheville-based nonprofit Education and Research Consortium of the Western Carolinas Inc., opened its first access point in Asheville.
  • Franklin software developer Drake Enterprises Ltd. and the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians founded Sylva-based BalsamWest FiberNET LLC, which has deployed more than 300 miles of fiber, mostly in the southwestern corner of the state.
  • The N.C. Rural Internet Access Authority, now N.C. Broadband, granted Advantage West $1.5 million to lay fiber in the rural counties of Haywood, Madison and Yancey. 


Briefs

MORGANTONMcCombs Oil, a fuel sales and transportation company, filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. McCombs, which lists assets of about $1.3 million and nearly $8.4 million of liabilities, is leasing its former property to Icard-based Burke Oil and sold its remaining fuel, worth about $19,600, to the company.

ASHEVILLE — The state denied Mission Health’s second request to transfer an endoscopy suite from here to its planned Mission Pardee Health Campus in Fletcher. The first application was rejected in 2011 because the Department of Health and Human Services said it overstated need. Reasons behind the second had not been released by early September.

ASHEVILLE — The North Carolina Housing Finance Agency awarded about $7 million to Eagle Market Place, a mixed-use complex that aims to revitalize a section that was a center of commerce for the black community. Asheville and Buncombe County have contributed $4.1 million in loans and grants for the project, which will include 62 affordable-housing apartments. Construction begins next year.