Broadband funding will help recruit business
Published 8:40 am Wednesday, September 13, 2023
On Wednesday, Sept. 6, U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine announced $16.3 million in federal funding will be coming to Mid-Atlantic Broadband Communities Corporation, to expand broadband and high-speed internet across Virginia.
The benefit for Lunenburg County is that this will help extend broadband through a number of “middle-mile” backbone routes. At times, companies don’t see it as cost-effective to lay fiber and set up the infrastructure in what they’ve deemed out of the way or “last-mile” areas. Areas in Cumberland, Dinwiddie, Greensville, Goochland, Louisa, Lunenburg, Mecklenburg, Nottoway, Prince Edward, Prince George, Sussex and the City of Petersburg all have spots like this. But the funding will cover work in these “last mile” areas. For Lunenburg, the funding is focused on Kenbridge.
How does it work? Well, this grant will provide funding for a network of high-capacity fiber optic cables that are connected to internet service providers. These cables will then connect to larger data centers and internet exchange points. This “middle mile” will allow for faster and more efficient data transfers as this will connect to other fiber backbone routes that extend to Ashburn, Culpeper and Charlottesville. The goal here is to both help local residents with high-speed internet and make it easier to recruit companies.
BRINGING BUSINESS TO KENBRIDGE
Kenbridge Town Manager Tony Matthews said the Senate’s decision to invest in the area says much about their willingness to bring business to Kenbrige.
However, businesses will have several requirements that need to consider a potential business location site.
“Kenbridge would like to have as many or all of those boxes checked and be ready when a business is ready,” Matthews said. The fiber installation will be a huge step in becoming attractive to businesses utilizing broadband, WiFi, internet, and IP phones,”
Matthews continued to say that the Kenbridge Commerce Center is a prime location for any business that is looking to locate its facility in a town that is accepting of new businesses and potential growth.
According to Matthews, the town has the water and sewer infrastructure in place, and the electricity demand is one that they have paid close attention to.
ANOTHER PART OF THE REGION
As mentioned, this covers other parts of this area, not just Lunenburg. In Cumberland County, local officials hope it’ll make them competitive for grants.
“My hope is that it makes us more competitive when it comes to grant funding opportunities for the county,” said Cumberland County Administrator Derek Stamey.
Since this announcement came last week, Stamey hasn’t had a chance to determine the full impact this will have on the county. However, what he does know is that this will be a benefit to all residents as it will bring the country one step closer to having full coverage.
Along with this project, Cumberland already has broadband projects bringing fiber across the county by Kinex and Firefly. According to Stamey, adding this middle mile is expected to bring coverage to the county between 80 to 85%.
“Anytime you can strengthen the backbone and service to residents of the community is well worth it and always a good thing,” said Stamey. “This is huge for the region and the county.”