This week, the State Corporation Commission is holding two meetings on a petition from Lumen Technologies to take over control of CenturyLink. Among the public comments submitted so far is the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors who sent a letter on February 10 summarizing concerns they made to Lumen officials at a January 12 meeting. As part of the deal, the new company would acquire copper-based assets and the county wants to make sure that service continues. (hearing webpage)
“Many of our vulnerable communities live in the rural areas of our county, where topography and distance often preclude cellular coverage,” the letter reads. “For these residents, this copper-plant is a vital lifeline for accessing 911 service, particularly during and after severe weather events.”
The Thomas Jefferson Planning District has been awarded a $79 million grant from the Virginia Telecommunications Initiative for a project to expand broadband to nearly every home across a 13-county area. Governor Ralph Northam made that announcement yesterday as part of a $722 million funding package for similar Internet expansion meetings across the Commonwealth. The TJPDC was the lead applicant for the RISE project, which stands for Regional Internet Service Expansion.
Several localities including Albemarle are contributing a total of $33.5 million as a match for the public-private partnership involving Firefly Fiber Broadband, the Rappahannock Electric Cooperative, and Dominion Energy. Over the next three years, more than 5,000 miles of fiber will be installed across an area that spans from portions of Campbell County to the south to Goochland County to the east to Greene County to the north. In all, an additional 36,283 homes will be connected. They will then ne able then purchase Internet from Firefly Fiber.
This afternoon, Louisa officials pledged to make broadband Internet available to every home and business in the county within the next four years. Christian Goodwin is the county administrator who spoke on a live YouTube feed that he acknowledged could not currently be accessed by all who live in Louisa.
“Today I am pleased to announce that we are unveiling plans to change that here in Louisa County and that we are developing a blueprint that other localities and providers can follow,” Goodwin said.