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Broadband Expansion for Rockbridge County Moving Forward

21-Sep-2020

Date: September 21, 2020

For Immediate Release

Contact: CSPDC Bonnie Riedesel, bonnie@cspdc.org or 540-885-5174 ext. 102 BARC Tish Blackwell, tblackwell@barcelectric.com or 800-846-2272 

Broadband Expansion for Rockbridge County Moving Forward

The revised VATI grant project area will connect unserved residences and businesses in Rockbridge County, Virginia 

Staunton, VA – In January 2020 Virginia Governor Ralph Northam announced more than $18.3 million in grants through the Virginia Telecommunication Initiative (VATI) to support 12 projects across Virginia. These awards included funding for a project submitted by the Central Shenandoah Planning District Commission (CSPDC). After working through incumbent carrier challenges to the original project submission, the project areas were revised in order that the project could move ahead to broadband construction and deployment. 

In today’s economy, the need for unserved communities to have access to high-speed Internet is greater than ever. The revised CSPDC project will bring broadband access to 492 unserved homes and businesses in Rockbridge County, as well as over 280 additional units. 

In partnership with Rockbridge County and BARC Electric Cooperative (BARC), the $2.2 million grant award will be used to provide fiber infrastructure to help bridge the digital divide to four project areas located in Rockbridge County. These areas include BARC’s Cornwall East-South River-Vesuvius electric circuit, a portion of the Big Hill circuit, the Effinger-Glasgow circuit, and the South Buffalo circuit1. The overall project will have a total cost of $4.4 million dollars and will result in approximately 111 miles of gigabit last mile fiber infrastructure. This project was funded and supported in collaboration with the Commonwealth of Virginia’s Telecommunication Initiative.

“In light of the health pandemic and new challenges rural communities face, the need for high- speed Internet is greater than ever,” said BARC CEO Mike Keyser. “We remain committed to one day serving every BARC member with world-class Internet and this collaborative effort with Rockbridge County and the CSPDC enables us to continue moving forward towards that goal. We appreciate the assistance of our partners and are very grateful to the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development for providing the grant funding assistance and working with us through the challenge process.” 

“We are excited to partner with BARC on this important effort to further expand rural broadband in Rockbridge County,” said Chairman, Rockbridge County Board of Supervisors Dan Lyons. “We appreciate the diligent and tenacious efforts of our staff, BARC and the Central Shenandoah Planning District Commission in bringing this project to fruition.” 

The CSPDC will serve as the grant administrator for the project and work with Rockbridge County and BARC from construction to completion.

1 BARC will also deploy fiber on the North Buffalo electric circuit at the same time as South Buffalo, but it is not part of the VATI grant project.