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Hanover’s Perspective

“Connect Hanover” Partnership Announced to Address Unserved Broadband Areas in Hanover County

Hanover County Announces “Connect Hanover” Partnership with All Points Broadband, Dominion Energy Virginia and Rappahannock Electric Cooperative

July 28, 2021 – Hanover County has announced the “Connect Hanover” initiative to make broadband services available to residents living in unserved areas of the county.

County Administrator John A. Budesky announced that after a competitive process, Hanover has selected All Points Broadband to identify those areas of the county that lack access to a broadband connection of at least 25 Mbps/3 Mbps. All Points Broadband will assist the County in developing and implementing a strategy to deliver broadband access with minimum speeds of 100 Mbps/100 Mbps to all remaining unserved areas.

All Points Broadband is partnering with Dominion Energy Virginia and Rappahannock Electric Cooperative (REC), who will lease “middle-mile” fiber capacity to All Points and leverage the initiative to improve the operation and efficiency of their electric grids. As it moves forward with efforts to modernize Virginia’s energy grid, Dominion Energy is working to provide “middle-mile” fiber optic cable infrastructure that can also be used to bridge the digital gap and reduce broadband deployment costs in Hanover County and other areas of the Commonwealth. All Points will serve as the partnership’s last-mile internet service provider and be responsible for providing service to end users in Hanover County.

In 2020, the Board of Supervisors convened a Broadband Advisory Committee comprised of residents with strong broadband skills. The type of partnership announced today is one of the committee’s recommendations and is part of the County’s Blueprint to Broadband plan.

Hanover and its partners will focus on areas that are currently unserved, such as those where residents must use satellite, DSL, cell phones or mobile “hot spots,” which do not provide adequate speed and data for today’s applications. Ensuring broadband availability for all of Hanover County will require a combination of state and federal financial support and a multi-year construction timeframe.

On July 28, the Board of Supervisors will consider appropriating federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds to jumpstart this process. ARPA funding is specifically designated for facilitating the delivery of high-quality broadband access.

“Broadband is probably the No. 1 issue that we hear about from our citizens on a day-to-day basis,” Budesky said. “The proposed investment will also enable us to leverage state and federal funds and make us much more competitive for grants.”

“This is a tremendous opportunity for Hanover County as well our rural residents who have been impacted by the lack of access to broadband that many in suburban areas currently have,” said Board of Supervisors Chairman, Sean M. Davis. “Over the years, through citizen contact and information received from two citizen-lead broadband access committees, the Board was keenly aware of access limitations.  We also knew that there had to be a more long-term and sustainable approach than simply providing County funding to supply the service.  That funding wasn’t possible because we had to ensure the appropriate level of funding for law enforcement, education, and the like.  In the private sector you rely on partnerships, so we set out to forge those partnerships in order provide a viable solution.  Now that this partnership has been created, we are excited for the opportunity to support remote education for our students and to provide economic opportunities for our businesses.  We are more than fortunate for this partnership – as it marks the beginning of that journey.”

“All Points is excited to begin our important work with Hanover, our electric utility partners, and other providers who will be part of achieving universal access in the County,” said Jimmy Carr, Chief Executive Officer of All Points Broadband. “Public-private partnerships that leverage partnerships between electric utilities and internet service providers are making fiber-to-the-home possible in currently unserved areas, and we are applying this proven strategy in Hanover.”

“Broadband access is more important than ever, and we’re proud to work with our partners in Hanover County to be part of the solution and help bring this critical resource to the communities we serve,” said Charlene Whitfield, Senior Vice President of Power Delivery, Dominion Energy. Added John Hewa, President and CEO of REC: “We are proud to partner with Hanover and All Points Broadband to help bridge the rural digital divide. REC is committed to improving the lives of the residents and businesses that we serve and improving broadband access certainly achieves that mission.”

By the end of August, All Points Broadband will develop a network design for presentation to the Board of Supervisors and approval in September. The County will apply for grants through the Virginia Telecommunications Initiative (VATI) in September. Grant announcements will be made by late 2021 or early 2022, and funding would be made available by July 2022. The utility partners anticipate construction could begin as early as fall of 2022.

Hanover’s program is consistent with Governor Northam’s goal to provide universal broadband service to every home and business in Virginia.

“I am thrilled to see this project moving forward to bring much needed broadband access to unserved areas in Hanover County,” said Sen. Ryan T. McDougle. “This critical service will improve quality of life, foster economic prosperity and help move our region forward.

The County looks forward to continuing its successful relationships with Lumen and Comcast to see that all homes and businesses in their service areas have access to broadband.

“We look forward to collaborating with all partners in the County to ensure universal broadband access is available to any County resident that wants it,” Budesky said.

How to Be Sure Your Home or Business is Included

Residents are encouraged to contact their State and Federal legislators and ask them to support broadband funding. If you are a person or business owner who wants broadband but does not have it, please complete the broadband availability survey at fiber.allpointsbroadband.com and complete a brief survey to determine whether your location has been identified as unserved by fiber and to subscribe for project information and updates.

About All Points Broadband

All Points Broadband empowers communities by bringing utility grade broadband to underserved markets, deploying fiber and state-of-the-art fixed-wireless technology to homes and businesses in communities throughout Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland and Kentucky, and is focused on leveraging partnerships with electric utilities and underserved jurisdictions to deliver fiber-to-the-home broadband access to unserved homes and businesses. Since October of 2020, All Points has secured more than $51 million in state and federal grants, and stakeholder partner contributions, to deploy broadband networks in its partner communities. More information is available at fiber.allpointsbroadband.com.

About Dominion Energy
More than 7 million customers in 16 states energize their homes and businesses with electricity or natural gas from Dominion Energy (NYSE: D), headquartered in Richmond, Va. The company is committed to sustainable, reliable, affordable and safe energy and to achieving net zero carbon dioxide and methane emissions from its power generation and gas infrastructure operations by 2050. Please visit DominionEnergy.com to learn more.

About Rappahannock Electric Cooperative
REC provides electric service to over 170,000 connections in parts of 22 Virginia counties. With its general office in Fredericksburg, Va., the Cooperative operates and maintains more than 17,000 miles of power lines through its service area, which ranges from the Blue Ridge Mountains to the tidal waters of the Chesapeake Bay. For more information about REC, please visit www.myrec.coop. Follow REC on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube.