Firefly Fiber BroadbandSM Partners with Nelson County to Expand Rural Broadband with $205,000 of CARES Act Funding
(Arrington, VA) – Firefly Fiber BroadbandSM, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Central Virginia Electric Cooperative (CVEC), is partnering with Nelson County to make use of the funds that are available for non-CVEC areas in the county as a one-time opportunity to quickly expand broadband availability in response to COVID issues using $205,000 of CARES Act funds. These additional funds, made available by Governor Northam, were awarded to localities based on a first come first serve basis after successfully being selected from the pool of applicants and the projects must be completed within calendar year 2020.
Firefly developed a plan to include construction of a project which, in total, includes 5 miles of fiber optic cable and will make service available to 84 accounts. Gary Wood, CEO for Firefly and CVEC commented, “Firefly is excited to announce our partnership with Nelson County to help expand broadband in this unserved area of the county. This project will connect homes, businesses and community centers plus allow for an additional free Wi-Fi hotspot to help school children and remote workers in the area. The project allowed us to connect an area that was slated to come online in 2022 much faster than anticipated without diverting attention from the system-wide CVEC fiber build. Partnerships with localities such as these are what help Firefly and CVEC offer access to reliable, fiber-to-the home broadband as quickly as possible in even the most remote areas.”
With the state CARES funds, Firefly will expand a project already planned to bring broadband service to a portion of Piney River funded in part through a grant with county CARES funds. Firefly will construct and operate a fiber-to-the-home internet access using overhead facilities from Piney River along Route 151 North to the Tye River and along Route 56 West to the Fleetwood Community Center. It will also extend service along Lowesville Road from Piney River to Whitehead Drive. In addition to the fiber build, Firefly and Nelson County are partnering to offer free Wi-Fi hotspot at the Piney River Volunteer Fire Department, the Massies Mill Ruritan Club, and The Fleetwood Community Center. Nelson County Administrator Stephen A. Carter notes, “With this project, Nelson County is the only locality with fiber available at every location along Route 29. Other localities have cable modem with download speeds approach gigabit and upload speeds around 30 mbps, but only Nelson County has fiber connectivity with symmetrical gigabit speed service at every location along Route 29. This is a definitive business attraction tool, as well as enhances the quality of life for Nelson residents and educational opportunities.”
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