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Fiber flying into county?

Fiber flying into county?

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An exciting new development has occurred in the county’s quest for broadband service.

Last week, county administrator Jack Hobbs said he had been contacted by Central Virginia Electric Cooperative (CVEC) about wanting to take its Firefly Fiber Broadband service outside of its service area into the Rappahannock Electric Cooperative (REC) service area. A similar partnership was announced in March with Louisa County officials, REC officials, Firefly and Dominion officials announcing a joint venture to bring the service to Louisa County residents. That partnership required a significant capital investment from all parties involved with Louisa Supervisors having earmarked $15 to incentivize the deployment of end-user fiber countywide. Madison has not made any financial commitments to broadband, other than discussing using some CARES funds to hire a consultant.

Still, county leaders are excited about the possibility of pairing with Firefly. Hobbs said it’s really the best case scenario and exactly what the county is looking for—fiber internet to homes with a base speed of 1 gigabyte. However, he said, implementation would still take years.

“It’s very exciting,” board of supervisors chairman Clay Jackson said. “This could be something great.”

Jackson said grants would be applied for in the fall to help fund any project and it could be implemented in two to 2.5 years. Plus, he said, CVEC already has a relationship with REC.

Madison County Director of Economic Development and Tourism Tracey Gardner said Albemarle County has recently signed a memorandum of understanding with Firefly.

Firefly representatives were expected to make a presentation to county officials Wednesday evening during the joint planning commission and board of supervisors meeting. A decision on the county’s draft RFP to hire a broadband consultant has been tabled until after Wednesday’s presentation.

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