Partners have broken ground on a 200-mile fiber broadband project in an historic region of rural Virginia. NRTC is supporting the project, which will serve 7,200 homes and businesses over four counties in the area where George Washington was born 289 years ago.
All Points Broadband (APB), a fiber and wireless ISP, is partnering with Northern Neck Electric Cooperative and Dominion Energy Virginia to serve the “Northern Neck,” a peninsula between the Potomac and Rappahannock Rivers, near Fredericksburg, VA. Governor Ralph Northam (pictured right) attended the groundbreaking earlier this month in Warsaw, VA.
Northam presented a $10 million grant from the state’s Virginia Telecommunication Initiative (VTI). “By leveraging federal, state, local investment and private capital, this project will bring connectivity and opportunity to rural, unserved communities in the Northern Neck,” the governor said during the event. “We need to think big to make universal broadband a reality in our commonwealth, and this regional initiative is exactly the type of unique partnership that will deliver on this promise.”
The Virginia General Assembly in 2019 passed a VTI pilot project to support partnerships between ISPs and electric utilities. It has since become a permanent program.
Searchlight Capital Partners, a New York-based investment firm, has joined the project this month through an investment in APB. “Searchlight has made development of FTTH and expanding access to this service a central focus of our investment strategy. We are excited to partner with APB, its electric utility partners and communities who want FTTH for all of their residents,” said Searchlight’s Darren Glatt in a press release.
“The Northern Neck initiative is a model of what can be achieved through a combination of public-private and electric-utility partnerships, and we are excited to bring more projects like this one to fruition,” said APB CEO Jimmy Carr (pictured standing far left, clapping). APB is investigating the possibility of similar projects in Virginia and other nearby states.
The current project will extend service to the members in Northern Neck Electric’s service area. Dominion Energy is building the fiber backbone and APB is building the connections to homes, substations and other Northern Neck electric power infrastructure.
NRTC Broadband Solutions performed the feasibility study for the project. It is also developing an executable project plan.
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