In January 2018, CVEC announced its plans to embark on a $110 million project to build fiber in order to better incorporate smart grid technology into its daily operations, improve integration of distributed energy resources, and help lower power costs through interactive energy management programs. Increasing bandwidth for communications within CVEC’s system will improve efficiency, increase reliability, and expand security. CVEC has applied for a $66 million loan from the Rural Utilities Service to finance the first part of the project. In addition to the benefits to the Cooperative, members will have a chance to take advantage of the reliable, high speed internet that only fiber to the home (FTTH) can offer in rural areas. Internet and telephone services will be offered by Firefly Broadband, CVEC’s subsidiary.
It will take five years to reach all members and CVEC is currently confirming the building schedule for the first year of the project. Focus will be on areas that are most dense and the lowest cost to serve so that the subsidiary is able to quickly generate revenue. CVEC is pursuing funding from the federal, state and county level to help offset costs. In March, CVEC was granted nearly $1 million in funding from the Virginia Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission, which will offset the approximately $10 million cost of installing fiber-optic cable throughout Appomattox. CVEC will begin construction in Appomattox because of the potential to benefit a large population, as well as a lower cost to serve with the grant funding received. CVEC will install 450 miles of fiber-optic cable across the county for those who are served by the Appomattox substation. Construction will begin in late fall and will be the first step in a five-year plan to install over 4,500 miles of fiber-optic cable in the 14 counties it serves, providing broadband internet to all of its 36,000 members.
Work has commenced on CVEC's Broadband Project!