Arrington, Va. – Central Virginia Electric Cooperative (CVEC) will begin installation of fiber in Appomattox by September, providing communications for a smart grid system and delivering high speed internet to its members. Appomattox was selected as the first stop due to the lowest cost to serve based on a nearly $1 million grant from the Virginia Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission (TRCC) and an economic incentive agreement with the County of Appomattox, which will offset the approximately $10 million cost of installing fiber-optic cable in Appomattox County. “Building broadband networks in extremely rural areas requires a partnership, and this project is the epitome of a public private partnership. Without their commitments, fiber installation would not be getting underway,” says CVEC President Gary Wood.
CVEC’s construction in Appomattox County 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. The fiber network will use laser beams and glass fibers to move data at speeds of up to one gigabit per second, delivering world-class communications to members served by the Appomattox substation, one of four substations in the county. The 155 miles of fiber-optic cable will span from the town of Appomattox along Route 26 through Oakville and towards Bent Creek, covering a portion of the area over Route 24 and Vera. The fiber will reach 1,656 of the 3,400 members residing in Appomattox, as well as the National Historic Park. “Having spent years working to extend broadband access to every corner of our region, I am excited to see this project and others throughout our region coming online,” noted Delegate Kathy J. Byron, Chairman of the Tobacco Commission’s Research and Development Committee. “Broadband service is not optional if we want our region to grow and prosper. I am grateful to my colleagues on the Tobacco Commission for acknowledging this and for committing resources to the CVEC projects and others like it.”
The fiber-optic network will be installed on and adjacent to existing overhead and underground electric distribution lines, utilizing the existing infrastructure. CVEC will install and own the fiber-optic cable, and offer retail internet and phone services to its members through Central Virginia Services, Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of CVEC. Cooperative members will be able to purchase high-speed internet of 100 megabits per second at $49.99 per month or 1 gigabit per second for $79.99 per month. More information on the construction schedule and on signing up for service will be available to members in the coming months.
“The availability of affordable high-speed internet to CVEC members will enhance development in Appomattox County through business growth, educational opportunities for families, tourism activities, and community development,” says Susan Adams, Appomattox County Administrator. Adams looks forward to the improved quality of life which broadband internet will bring to residents in Appomattox County. CVEC is pursuing county, state and federal financial partnerships to help offset the cost of the $110 million investment in the project. The Cooperative has met with many counties in its territory to explore funding opportunities; the grant from the Tobacco Commission marks the first confirmed source of funding to date. “We are all reaching for the same goal: providing broadband to rural America. Families who wish to reside in rural areas should be afforded the same amenities as those who choose to live in urban and suburban areas. The challenge we are facing today mirrors the challenge our members overcame in 1937 when our Cooperative was created to supply power to those who were forced to live without,” says Wood.
Central Virginia Electric Cooperative is a member-owned, not-for-profit, electric utility serving more than 36,000 homes, farms and businesses in the rural portions of 14 Virginia counties. CVEC is proud to be a Four-Star Cooperative for Service Excellence certified by the Touchstone Energy Service Excellence Program. For more information, visit www.mycvec.com.