On September 8, the Hanover Board of Supervisors approved a resolution enabling the County Administrator to finalize a grant application for universal broadband coverage. This application will be filed by September 14.
Under the “Connect Hanover” program announced on July 28, Hanover County has joined in a partnership with All Points Broadband and CenturyLink to seek funding from the state’s Virginia Telecommunication Initiative (VATI) grant program. The project seeks funding for All Points Broadband and CenturyLink to provide broadband service to about 8,900 homes and businesses in the county that lack such service.
The total cost of the project is estimated at up to $60 million. The Board has agreed to use about $17 million in funding it received from the federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) to leverage the private investment.
If the VATI grant is received, over the next several years all unserved residents and businesses will ultimately have access to high quality broadband service provided by All Points Broadband and CenturyLink. The minimum speeds for APB customers will be 100 Mbps for both upload and download.
Jimmy Carr of All Points Broadband told the Board his company would charge a standard installation fee of $199 with residential service offerings priced between $59.99 and$119.99 a month.
Dominion Energy Virginia and Rappahannock Electric Cooperative would upgrade their lines and All Points Broadband would provide the “last mile” in service, even to those houses with long driveways.
“The idea is to make sure everybody’s included,” Carr said. “Let’s do this once and do it right.”
CenturyLink representative Derek Kelly said the project would benefit about 6,482 locations in the areas of the county that fall within that company’s service area.
County Administrator John A. Budesky told the Board that he thinks the project stands “a high chance of being funded by the Commonwealth.” All Points’ network and partnerships are specifically designed to secure VATI grant funding in the current application cycle and to be an eligible use of ARPA funds.
Kevin Nelson, Director of Information Technology, told the Board that he hoped to receive notice of the grant award by the end of this year or January 2022 at the latest. If the grant request is approved, agreements would be signed with the state and with the internet service providers next spring. VATI funding would become available July 1, 2022, with construction to begin shortly thereafter.
The County will also leave ARPA funds in reserve for any homes that are missed and to infill areas that are within the Comcast service area but that are unserved.
If you have not filled out the All Points Broadband survey indicating you do not have broadband service and you want broadband service, you are invited to go to fiber.allpointsbroad.com and fill it out now.