GLOUCESTER-Gloucester County Board of Supervisors recently allocated $2 million of American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding to expand broadband internet to unserved residents.
Open Broadband LLC will work with the county to utilize a fixed wireless system. The endeavor is designed to provide broadband service throughout the entire county.
There are approximately 2,500 unserved structures in the county. The funding, along with a Virginia Telecommunications Initiative Grant currently underway, will mean that everyone in the county will have access to broadband, according to a press release.
Cox Communications provides service to approximately 86 percent of the county. The U.S. Treasury Department requires that ARPA funds used on broadband deliver 100/100 Mbps capacity or 100/20 Mbps and scalable to 100 where geographic limitations are in place. That level of service allows streaming and other popular uses of broadband.
The fixed wireless technology allows signals to travel through the air from towers that are connected to the internet by fiber to small receivers placed at homes or businesses. This type of technology is excellent at reaching structures in remote locations. The county will provide the use of its towers and rooftops for broadband equipment. The Gloucester School Board recently voted to explore a contract with Open Broadband for use at its facilities as well.
“This funding will allow the county to reach our ultimate goal of making broadband internet available to all residents and businesses in Gloucester County,” said Carol Steele, Gloucester’s acting county administrator. “This project will not only directly impact our residents in a material way but will also continue to show the region that Gloucester is an economically viable town to live and conduct business in.”
Residents and businesses interested in receiving service from Open Broadband are asked to visit www.openbb.net/gloucesterco to sign up with no obligation. The company will contact those who have signed up when the service is available. After registering, residents will receive monthly email updates outlining the project’s progress.
For overall information and updates regarding all of Gloucester County’s broadband initiatives, visit the Broadband Information Hub.