Update on expanding broadband access via Firefly and Kinex, addressing CenturyLink concerns

Please see the below update from Central Virginia Electric Cooperative (CVEC) regarding Firefly broadband internet in Buckingham. I am very pleased with the progress that this great partnership is resulting in.

An update on Firefly from CVEC.
An update on Firefly from CVEC.

Buckingham County has approximately 8,200 homes and businesses. Almost 4,600 are served by Central Virginia Electric Cooperative and will have internet options from their system wide fiber build which will be completed by 2023. In addition, Firefly has applied for a ReConnect grant for some non-CVEC territory which will cover almost 300 additional homes and businesses.

With 783 being passed with this project and if the ReConnect grant is awarded this fall, Firefly will have fiber optic service passing almost 5,800, or 71% of the county homes and businesses. There are a few areas with CenturyLink DSL that exceeds 25/3, and another local fiber based internet company provides service to the school system and a small portion of the residences and businesses; with these two providers plus Firefly, more than 80% of all county buildings will have access to broadband after this project.

This project will be an important step towards Buckingham County completing its goal of 100 percent connectivity for its citizens. If this grant is successful, it will open the northern Rt. 15 corridor to further expansion of broadband access.

Earlier this month, the Board agreed to making grant applications with Central Virginia Electric Cooperative (Firefly) and Kinex Telecom Inc. with the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) for grant funding from the 2020 Virginia Telecommunications Initiative (VATI).

The area for this project is adjacent to the northern border of the Central Virginia Electric Cooperative (“CVEC”) fiber build and the retail internet access service area of Firefly Fiber Broadband (“Firefly”), a wholly owned subsidiary of CVEC. The project will connect to that network and extend north along Rt. 15 through Dillwyn and further north to Bell Road. The project area then continues east along Bell Road and then down Scotts Bottom Road back to Rt. 60. From there the project area map goes back west to Sprouse’s Corner. There is also a small area along Rt. 60 west of Sprouse’s Corner that provides service to the Va. State Police office, U.S.D.A. office and several other businesses and homes.

The total number of serviceable units, or passings, for this area has be estimated to be 783, including 74 businesses. The services offered by Firefly Fiber Broadband will include 100 mbps for $49.99 and 1gbps for $79.99. All services include unlimited data and speeds are symmetrical for upload and download. If citizens register for service while construction is taking place in the area, the $100 installation fee will be waived. Voice over IP telephone service is also offered for $34.99 with a $5.00 per month bundling discount if paired with internet service.

The Firefly connection grant would include about 700 homes and more than 20 miles of fiber for access to high speed internet.

With many of these new connections being in the Maysville District, I am very proud of the work we are doing and have done to help better connect our community, resulting in more jobs and opportunity for everyone.

Follow-Up To Century Link Comments

I spoke with a CenturyLink representative at length this week about your comments regarding connections, equipment, and reliability. The spokesman said this summer has been the worst for summer storms in Virginia in years, and lightening does a great deal of damage to lines.

He said technicians are working overtime to work and repair lines, as are other staff. He emphasized the importance of reporting these issues to CenturyLink (see website and number below).

When new broadband is installed, that should increase reliability for phone connectivity, he said, because of the proximity of the equipment to the residence. But the further away the equipment from the residence, the more likely a storm (mainly lightening) could damage the telephone line or broadband connection.

Regarding CenturyLink’s DSL project (see this link for previous history), the spokesman noted that by the end of this year the homes in questions should be connected in the county. Homes without traditional CenturyLink telephone connections may see an additional connection charge, he said, but this would not be applicable to those with phone service with CenturyLink. Again, with broadband there is less chance for damaged lines because of the proximity of the equipment.

They’re aiming to have all of these areas turned up by the end of the year, but it could take longer if we run into issues with construction. 

Here are the areas across Buckingham that CenturyLink is working in to improve internet access:

  1. Int. Hwy 20 & 679 (Paynes Pond Rd)
  2. Near 2810 Hundley Branch Rd.
  3. Warren’s Ferry Rd. & Rock Island Rd.
  4. Enonville (near intersection of Oak Hill and Andersonville),
  5. Dixie Hill Rd. just north of Andersonville Rd – we have some very slow speeds (~1.5 Mbps) to this area now and they will be able to get much faster speeds.
  6. Andersonville Rd. just north of Perkins Mill Rd.

He noted that with CenturyLink’s DSL, the highest speed (with homes closest to the equipment) would be 100 megabytes per second (homes in first 1,000 feet of equipment), and then the further the homes from the equipment, the less internet speed, going as low as 10 megabytes per second. He did note this access closes the “homework gap.”

Helping Students Learn Remotely

We are receiving great feedback on the Board’s decision to purchase 500 Verizon internet hot spots for school students in Buckingham without access to internet. We are working with the school division on this, and also looking into purchasing more hot spots via T-Mobile and U.S. Cellular. We are very proud of our decision to help empower more students and families to access internet as they begin their courses in this new and uncharted school year of virtual learning.

Should you need to contact me, please call, visit, email or text me.

Thomas Jordan Miles III

District Four Supervisor (Maysville)
Note change in my email: jmiles@buckinghamcounty.virginia.gov
434-390-7023

13170 West James Anderson Highway

PO Box 188

Buckingham, Virginia 23921

www.MilesforMaysville.com


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