RALEIGH Jan 22, 2019 The application period for the 2018 GREAT Grant program will close Feb. 1 at 11:59 p.m., Eric Boyette, secretary of the N.C. Department of Information Technology and state chief information officer, said today. /p> The GREAT Grant Program is a new $10 million program authorized by the N.C. General Assembly and administered by the Broadband Infrastructure Office in the N.C. Department of Information Technology. The program allows internet service providers and electric membership cooperatives to compete through an application process for funding to expand broadband service in economically distressed Tier One counties. “We expect to see some great ideas for meaningful broadband expansion in these areas,” Secretary Boyette said. “This is an important step in ensuring that our children have the resources that they need for a quality education and that our small business owners are empowered to grow.” The GREAT Grant Program is established in Session Law 2018-5. Eligible areas are census blocks or portions of census blocks in Tier One counties that lack access to a service providing a minimum of 10 Megabits per second download and 1 Megabit per second upload speeds.