Broadband coverage in western North Carolina is expanding.
N.C. Governor Bev Perdue will arrive in Hickory on Friday for the groundbreaking ceremony where nonprofit MCNC will expand its broadband service for the North Carolina Research and Education Network (NCREN).
The project will improve broadband service to 1,232 K-12 schools and 55 higher-learning institutions, including North Carolina-system universities.
CommScope in Hickory will provide materials for the project, including more than 500 miles of optic fiber and 1,000 miles of conduit.
"We sell worldwide, but we're particularly excited to support something like this in our own backyard," said Philip Armstrong, CommScope senior vice president of corporate finance.
CommScope bid for the project and was contracted for the $2.5-million job, which is expected to create more than 230 construction and engineering jobs in North Carolina.
"We're building a statewide asset," said Joe Freddoso, president and CEO of MCNC. "And Hickory is the fiber optic capital of the world."