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.”
Firefly Fiber BroadbandSM Speeds its Connections and Partners with Nelson County to Expand Rural Broadband with CARES Act Funding
(Arrington, VA) – Firefly Fiber BroadbandSM, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Central Virginia Electric Cooperative, has committed to speeding up its internet connections across Central Virginia. In recognition of the urgent need to get members connected, the Board of Directors of Central Virginia Electric Cooperative (CVEC) authorized a plan to increase the pace of construction across the CVEC system with a goal of completing the fiber backbone construction by July 2022, shortening the buildout schedule by a year. The intent is to have Firefly provide internet connections for all CVEC members who choose service by fall of 2022. CVEC is on pace for the next two years to build 1,000 miles of line each year and make service available at more than 10,000 new CVEC locations each year.
In addition to the system-wide CVEC fiber build, Firefly 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. The CARES Act funds have a requirement that the projects be completed within calendar year 2020. Firefly developed a plan to build small expansions in several areas to help address needs for distance learning and remote work. The six small projects will include construction of 16 miles of fiber optic cable and make service available to more than 400 accounts. Gary Wood, CEO for Firefly and CVEC commented, “Firefly is excited to expand our partnership with Nelson County to help address the lack of broadband. These projects will connect homes and businesses plus allow for additional free Wi-Fi hotspots to help school children and remote workers in several areas across the county. They will fit into our schedule without diverting attention from the system-wide CVEC fiber build, which is speeding up to get as many people access to broadband as fast as possible.”
One project will accelerate construction at the CVEC Gladstone substation to begin connections of CVEC members from there in 2020. Two projects will provide broadband on the north side of the railroad tracks in Shipman and Arrington. One project in Piney River will cover an area from the county line on Rt 151 north to the intersection of Rt 56 and Rt 151, plus a short extension up Lowesville Road. Several small subdivisions near Colleen will also have service extended. Wood added, “We are excited about these new projects that continue our partnership with a forward-looking Board of Supervisors and county staff who are working hard to make broadband access a reality for every home and business in Nelson County.”
Please note: These are proposed build areas that are subject to change due to issues in the field or design process.