Albemarle County VA

Content tagged with "Albemarle County VA"

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Building for Digital Equity: Life After ACP Reprise

If you missed our most recent Building for Digital Equity Livestream – Life After ACP – the virtual event can still be seen in its entirety (below).

The entire event focused on the imminent end of the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) and featured a lineup of speakers who shared on-the-ground perspectives and approaches being adopted at the community level to deal with the broadband affordability crisis in the absence of the popular federal program that has served 23 million Americans since its inception two years ago.

As a bonus, we are sharing links to the speakers slide decks below.

The first of two lightning round speakers, Margaret Käufer – President of The STEM Alliance – gave an overview on the short and long-term work her organization is doing in upstate New York in the face of ACP’s demise. You can find her slide deck here.

The second lightning round presenter Jason Inofuentes – Program Manager for the Broadband Accessibility and Affordability Office in Albemarle County, VA – unveiled an ACP supplement program his office is pursuing and how they see things moving forward. Those slides are here.

The first of the main presenters – Monica Gonzales, Digital Equity Supervisor for Methodist Healthcare Ministries in Texas – gave an overview of what her faith-based nonprofit healthcare organization is doing to address affordable connectivity across the 74 county South Texas region served by MHM. Gonzales’ slides are here.

Central Virginia Electric Cooperative Brings Fiber To 20K Virginians In 52 Months

Five years ago, the Central Virginia Electric Cooperative (CVEC) announced the creation of the Firefly Broadband initiative, a subsidiary specifically built to leverage the co-op’s existing electrical assets to deliver affordable fiber to 13 underserved Virginia counties.

Half a decade later, the coop says it has successfully completed its $150 million expansion project, deployed 3,600 miles of new fiber, passed 40,000 total homes and businesses, and directly connected 20,000 state residents–many for the first time ever–in less than 52 months.

“Central Virginia Electric Cooperative partnered with Conexon to perform a feasibility study for a fiber build across their entire service territory – 13 counties and 3600 miles,” CVEC VP of Communications Melissa Gay told ILSR. “Once the target costs, offerings and take rates were determined, we chose to race to secure supplies and labor. Finding great partners has been a tremendous help to the success of our project.”

CVEC milestone ceremony

Buoyed by numerous grants including a $28 million combination loan and grant from the USDA's ReConnect Program, Firefly now provides local residents symmetrical 100 Mbps (megabits per second) fiber for $50 a month, and symmetrical 1 Gbps (gigabit per second) service for $80 a month. There are no contracts and no data caps.

About 90 percent of households connected had no broadband access previously, according to Bruce Maurhoff, Firefly’s senior vice president and chief operating officer.