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Internet providers seeking funds to bring broadband to rural parts of the state can begin applying today.

“(Vendors have) been waiting. Almost every day, we are getting calls for when is (the dashboard) going to be ready,” Office of Regulatory Staff spokesman Ron Aiken said. “People are chomping at the bit for this money.”

The South Carolina Broadband Infrastructure Program, under the ORS, has launched its dashboard, which includes maps of underserved areas, project applications and vendor applications.

Aiken said 550 areas of need have been identified with 150 listed as “high priority.” At least 15 spots have been identified as in-need of broadband service in Charleston County. Dorchester County has seven areas of need, and Berkeley County has 20 areas of need and three high priority areas.

The state broadband program will use $50 million of federal coronavirus relief funds to provide financial assistance to install and deliver broadband infrastructure around the state. The money was set aside by state lawmakers earlier this summer.