SkyLine/SkyBest, a member of CarolinaLink, the North Carolina’s Broadband Cooperative Coalition, announced a $500,000 commitment and 10-year partnership with UNC Children’s Hospital to support rural virtual health programs across the state.

The gift from CarolinaLink will allow UNC Children’s to develop a telemedicine program that will connect children in rural areas across North Carolina with specialty providers at UNC Children’s Hospital in Chapel Hill.

Kim Shepherd, Chief Executive Officer for SkyLine/SkyBest commented on the gift stating, “We are proud to be partnering with our CarolinaLink members to make this gift to UNC Children’s Hospital. North Carolina’s communications cooperatives have always worked to serve the underserved areas of our state by providing critical communications services. This new telehealth program is a perfect opportunity to utilize the broadband services we provide to connect families living in rural areas to world-class health services from UNC Children’s Hospital.”

UNC Children’s has already begun forging partnerships with other health systems and pediatric offices in communities across the state to launch the telehealth programs. Locations will be selected in areas where it is more difficult to travel to the Triangle for pediatric specialty services.

“By partnering with rural pediatric clinics and other rural care providers, we’ll be able to bring specialty care closer to home for these children and their families,” said Michael Steiner, MD, MPH, Pediatrician in Chief at UNC Children’s Hospital. “We are grateful for the commitment and support from CarolinaLink and we are excited to launch this new telehealth program.”

The Chancellor at UNC-Chapel Hill, Dr. Kevin Guskiewicz, also thanked CarolinaLink stating, “The ability to provide the best care to more families will have such a positive impact on the health and wellness of children in North Carolina. I look forward to seeing the great things that come of this new program.”

CarolinaLink comprises North Carolina’s seven broadband membership cooperatives who provide advanced technology services to many of the state’s most rural areas. The seven members include ATMC, Randolph Communications, RiverStreet Networks, Skyline/SkyBest, Star Communications, Surry Communications and Yadtel.

For more information about the UNC Children’s Outreach Initiative Fund, visit www.unchealthfoundation.org. To learn more about CarolinaLink and their members, visit www.carolinalink.org.

About SkyLine

SkyLine Membership Corporation has a storied history of bringing advanced telecommunications services to northwest North Carolina and east Tennessee since its formation as a member-owned telephone cooperative 70 years ago. Recognized for its Gig-capable fiber network as one of the largest and most progressive rural telcos in the U.S., SkyLine and its wholly-owned subsidiary, SkyBest Communications, deliver advanced communications and technology solutions over an expanding network in northwest N.C., east/middle Tenn., and upstate S.C. The companies specifically provide symmetrical Gig broadband and bundled services (voice, internet, digital TV), business communications, network and hosting solutions, business phone systems, monitored security and surveillance services. SkyLine and SkyBest are pursuing ways to extend the delivery of fiber technology to underserved areas, engaging collaboratively to advance the telework economy and contributing meaningfully to communities across their service footprint.

About CarolinaLink

CarolinaLink is an advocacy group for the North Carolina Broadband Cooperative Coalition (NCBCC). NCBCC comprises North Carolina’s seven Broadband Membership Cooperatives, who together provide advanced technology services to many of the state’s most rural areas. Through CarolinaLink these companies advocate for public policy goals which improve the lives of North Carolinians living in rural areas, such as ensuring access to state-of-the-art communications services at reasonable prices, whatever their address. CarolinaLink member companies include ATMC, Randolph Communications, RiverStreet Networks, SkyLine/SkyBest, Star Communications, Surry Communications and Yadtel. For more information about CarolinaLink, visit carolinalink.org.