Hanover County Submits 2021-2022 Virginia Telecommunications Initiative Broadband Grant Application
On September 8, 2021, the Hanover County Board of Supervisors authorized the filing of a State VATI broadband grant application. The County filed this grant application in conjunction with All Points Broadband on September 14.
Highlights of the grant application include:
- 7235 homes and businesses to be served, including 785 businesses and home-based businesses and 43 community and government buildings;
- $14,430,100 in VATI grant funds requested;
- $15,840,000 in County American Rescue Plan Act funds;
- $29,936,007 in private investment;
- $60,206,107 total project cost.
For additional information on the blueprint to broadband, please visit:
All Points Broadband – fiber.allpointsbroadband.com/
Dominion Energy Virginia – www.dominionenergy.com/broadband
Rappahannock Electric Cooperative – www.myrec.coop/broadband
or contact Kevin Nelson, Hanover County Director of Information Technology at email
On July 28, Hanover County announced the “Connect Hanover” initiative to make broadband services available to residents living in unserved areas of the county.
County Administrator John A. Budesky announced that after a competitive process, Hanover has selected All Points Broadband to identify those areas of the county that lack access to a broadband connection of at least 25 Mbps/3 Mbps. All Points Broadband will assist the County in developing and implementing a strategy to deliver broadband access with minimum speeds of 100 Mbps/100 Mbps to all remaining unserved areas.
All Points Broadband is partnering with Dominion Energy Virginia and Rappahannock Electric Cooperative (REC), who will provide “middle-mile” fiber capacity to All Points and leverage the initiative to improve the operation and efficiency of their electric grids. As it moves forward with efforts to modernize Virginia’s energy grid, Dominion Energy is working to provide “middle-mile” fiber optic cable infrastructure that can also be used to bridge the digital gap and reduce broadband deployment costs in Hanover County. All Points will serve as the partnership’s last-mile internet service provider and be responsible for providing service to end users.
In 2020, the Board of Supervisors convened a Broadband Advisory Committee comprised of residents with strong broadband skills. The type of partnership announced today is one of the committee’s recommendations and is part of the County’s Blueprint to Broadband plan.
Hanover and its partners will focus on areas that are currently unserved, such as those where residents must use satellite, DSL, cell phones or mobile “hot spots,” which do not provide adequate speed and data for today’s applications. Ensuring broadband availability for all of Hanover County will require a combination of state and federal financial support and a multi-year construction timeframe.
On July 28, the Board of Supervisors appropriated $17 million in federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds to jumpstart this process. ARPA funding is specifically designated for facilitating the delivery of high quality broadband access.
VATI Broadband Grant
All Points Broadband has developed a network design that was used to apply for a Virginia Telecommunications Initiative (VATI) broadband grant in September 2021. The County will know if it has received a grant in December or January, and funding for that grant, if received, is expected to be available in July 2022, with construction possibly beginning in the fall of 2022.
Emergency Broadband Benefit Program
The Federal Communication Commission announced the start date of the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program. As of May 12, 2021, eligible households will be able to enroll in the Program to receive a monthly discount (up to $50) off the cost of broadband service from an approved provider (Comcast and CenturyLink are participating in the program). Eligible households can enroll through an approved provider or by visiting https://getemergencybroadband.org.
For more information, including eligibility requirements, about the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program, please visit https://www.fcc.gov/broadbandbenefit.
Hanover Internet Service
Hanover County comprises 471 square miles with 70% of the land area considered rural. Despite coverage maps indicating that virtually all of Hanover County has access to broadband (high-speed) internet, a large portion of the County does not have adequate internet service coverage. Hanover County understands that universal broadband internet access is essential for our community. It is essential to support business, education, public safety, and everyday life. As such, the Hanover Board of Supervisors has made this issue a priority. More information on high-speed internet in Hanover is available here Hanover Internet Service Hanover Internet Service Hanover Internet Service Hanover Internet Service Hanover Internet Service Hanover Internet Service Hanover Internet Service Hanover Internet Service Hanover Internet Service Hanover Internet Service Hanover Internet Service Hanover Internet Service Hanover Internet Service.
Hanover County is prohibited by law from being an internet service provider, so the County must partner with an ISP to expand internet service. The County has two major internet service providers, Comcast and CenturyLink. Comcast has established broadband service in most of the County’s suburban area. Comcast continues to work with the community to expand their services. CenturyLink has established some broadband service to communities in the western part of the County. CenturyLink’s internet service is based on DSL technology, so it can vary depending on how close a consumer is to where the service hub is located. CenturyLink is upgrading their infrastructure to a fiber-based internet service. Service areas for these providers is documented at broadbandmap.fcc.gov.
Various other internet service providers are located in the County primarily using DSL, wireless, and satellite technology. Hanover continues to encourage other wired and wireless service providers to locate in the County.
Broadband Internet Speed
The goal is to provide residents and businesses a minimum level of internet bandwidth. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulates internet service providers and has defined “broadband” internet, which is considered the minimum acceptable internet speed, at 25Mbps (download) / 3Mbps (upload). Download speed is how fast your internet connection can transfer data from a website to your computer/tablet. Upload speed is how fast your personal internet connection can transfer your data to another site/person. Broadband internet access speeds can be met with either wired (cable to the home) or wireless solutions.