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Wilkes Communications/RiverStreet Networks Secures $191.1 Million Loan to Bring High-Speed Fiber Optic Internet to Underserved Rural Communities

Wilkes Communications/RiverStreet Networks Secures $191.1 Million Loan to Bring High-Speed Fiber Optic Internet to Underserved Rural Communities

Wilkesboro, North Carolina — Wilkes Communications/RiverStreet Networks, a leading telecommunications provider, has successfully secured a $191.1 million loan to drive the completion of its ambitious fiber build project in rural communities in both North Carolina and Virginia. This initiative will enhance existing markets and extend its reach to 17 counties in Virginia, covering a staggering 68,000 grant-funded locations spanning 6,400 route miles. The project’s primary objective is building and connecting customers to a state-of-the-art fiber network, with an anticipated milestone of reaching 100,000 total locations upon its completion.

The significant funding addition includes a refinance of legacy USDA RUS financing, over $30 million of current construction, and a substantial allocation of $82 million for future construction costs, ensuring the laying of fiber optic cables and installation of essential infrastructure. This strategic move aligns with Wilkes Communications/RiverStreet Networks’ commitment to providing high-quality, reliable fiber connectivity to underserved and unserved rural communities across North Carolina and Virginia.

A crucial aspect of the project involves converting the remaining 25% of Wilkes/RiverStreet’s existing copper areas to fiber, a critical step towards implementing fiber-to-the-home in all serving areas.

Wilkes Communications/RiverStreet Networks has secured federal, state, and local grants totaling $270 million. These grants will complement the loan, ensuring a robust financial foundation for the project. The CoBank loan, covering 93% of the project cost, reflects the confidence in Wilkes/RiverStreet’s vision and capability to deliver on its commitment to superior fiber connectivity.

“Our mission has always been to connect communities and empower individuals through cutting-edge telecommunication solutions,” said Eric Cramer, President & CEO at Wilkes Communications/RiverStreet Networks. “With this substantial financial backing, we are ready to break down barriers and bring the digital future within reach for even the most remote regions of North Carolina and Virginia.”

With this funding, Wilkes Communications/RiverStreet Networks is poised to play a vital role in transforming the telecommunications landscape in North Carolina and Virginia, delivering high-speed, reliable fiber connectivity to homes and businesses. The most recent fiber-to-the-home achievement was in King and Queen County, VA. The company remains steadfast in its commitment to completing the project within the required five-year timeframe. Wilkes/RiverStreet just celebrated its completion of an unprecedented first-of-its-kind FTTH build to over 4,200 locations in King and Queen County, VA. King and Queen County was the first of 17 counties for this project, and the company has seen a resounding success in adoption rates on the newly built network.

About RiverStreet Networks:
RiverStreet Networks is a leading telecommunications and broadband service provider focusing on bringing high-speed internet connectivity to underserved areas. With a mission to connect communities, empower businesses, and enhance the quality of life through cutting-edge technology, RiverStreet Networks is committed to bridging the digital divide and ensuring that all residents have access to the benefits of a connected world. Riverstreet Networks serves customers in over 68 counties in 5 states, primarily in North Carolina and Virginia.

For more information about Wilkes Communications/RiverStreet Networks and its initiatives, please visit

Media Contact:
Mike Meinel
Vice President of Marketing