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Broadband Initiative

 

February 1, 2017 - CVEC issued a press release containing the following information:

 

CVEC and AcelaNet Work Together to Find Broadband Solutions

(Lovingston, VA) Central Virginia Electric Cooperative (CVEC) is pleased to announce it will be working with AcelaNet, LLC to develop solutions to provide broadband connectivity to the members of the Cooperative over the next five years.

AcelaNet (www.acelanet.com) submitted a proposal in response to a Request for Information issued by CVEC in September 2016.  The proposed system includes a combination of fiber optic cable and wireless technologies to reach CVEC members throughout the Cooperative territory spread across the rural portions of 14 central Virginia counties.  The goal of the program is to have broadband service available to all CVEC members within five years from the start of construction.

 

CVEC President and CEO, Gary Wood, outlined the Cooperative’s motivation for embarking on the project, “Eighty years ago, CVEC members joined together to improve their quality of life and economic opportunity through rural electrification.  Today, we begin the work of overcoming the digital divide for the very same reasons.”

 

AcelaNet, a regional Internet Service Provider (ISP) based in Nelson County, has experience serving rural areas, with active projects in central Virginia counties, including Amherst, Albemarle, Buckingham, Louisa, Nelson, and Appomattox.  AcelaNet CEO, Lon Whelchel, commented on the opportunity, “Working with CVEC is a natural fit.  AcelaNet is committed to deploy true broadband in the same rural areas served by the Cooperative.  Using the utility poles as a delivery platform will allow us to achieve our mission along with the help and cooperation of localities and the rural residents.”

 

There are many hurdles to be overcome for the project to become viable on a system wide basis.  CVEC and AcelaNet seek to develop a regional effort engaging the CVEC members and local businesses as well as assistance at the local, state and federal level to overcome the physical, financial, legal, and regulatory hurdles to providing universal service to rural Virginia.  The Cooperative and AcelaNet will begin work immediately to develop the framework for the infrastructure project.  The time line, logistics, and costs for the project and services will be announced after a comprehensive plan has been established.

 

For more information on CVEC go to www.mycvec.com.  For information about AcelaNet and to indicate interest in receiving service, visit www.acelanet.com.  AcelaNet will be managing the enrollment and scheduled deployment and will contact CVEC members and others when service is available. Some might be served immediately from the infrastructure that is already in place.

 

The Cooperative does advise interested members that an important first step has been taken but specific details and the schedule of service availability will be announced in the future when an implementation plan is complete.  CVEC and AcelaNet will contact members at that time.

 

AcelaNet, operating as SCS Broadband and CVALink, delivers high-speed broadband services over fiber and wireless equipment in central Virginia. The company is committed to delivering high quality Internet service to meet the growing needs of businesses, schools, local government and residents.

 

Headquartered in Lovingston, Central Virginia Electric Cooperative is a member-owned electric-distribution utility serving 36,000 meters in the rural portions of 14 central Virginia counties. For more information about the Cooperative, visit www.mycvec.com.

 

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July 2016 - Central Virginia Electric Cooperative has announced a rural broadband initiative designed to incentivize qualified entities to deliver world class service throughout its
14-county electric distribution territory. As outlined in the Request for Information (RFI), the Cooperative is seeking to “partner with a proven, committed entity or consortium of entities to make affordable Gigabit-class broadband available to all CVEC members…”

Specifically, the Cooperative has offered to waive annual pole attachment fees, that totaled $1.2 million in 2016 with expected increases over time, in exchange for the deployment of a fiber based broadband network that provides a minimum of 25 Megabits per second (Mbps) download speed with no cap on data usage to any of the 36,000 CVEC member service locations.

CVEC President and CEO Gary Wood explained the Cooperative’s motivation, “Without affordable, reliable broadband communication services, rural residents are being shut off from advancements in technology that would provide jobs, better education, and a higher quality of life.  When CVEC was first formed in 1937, the members came together to share the cost to extend distribution lines and make central station electric service available to every home.  Now, the members are willing to join together to offer this incentive.”

Wood compared the lack of rural broadband to a time when nine out of ten farms in Virginia lacked electricity, “Fifty years after Richmond residents first began to enjoy electric service, their country cousins were still using fire to heat and light their homes, cook food, and wash and iron clothes.  The formation of member-owned electric cooperatives effectively resolved the basic disparities in economic opportunity and in quality of life.  Today, the Cooperative will do all that it can to recruit a working partner in order to close the digital divide, for the benefit of our members-owners and our rural communities.”

In addition to targeting universal service for its members, CVEC envisions contracting for broadband connectivity to its offices, electric substations, and down line equipment to enhance control and reliability of the 4,500 mile electric distribution system.  Interested broadband providers may view the Request for Information from the link to the left and should submit a letter of intent to respond to the RFI by September 2, 2016.

 

 

 

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