A partnership that features two electric cooperatives will put residents of rural Goochland County, Va., on the path to universal broadband coverage of all residents and businesses.
Announced Nov. 10, the project is the result of a partnership of Firefly Fiber Broadband, a wholly owned subsidiary of Central Virginia Electric Cooperative, Dominion Energy and Rappahannock Electric Cooperative, along with the county.
“We are proud to partner with Goochland, Firefly and Dominion to bridge the digital divide in our rural communities,” said John Hewa, REC’s president and CEO. “REC is committed to improving the communities we serve and bringing broadband to unserved and underserved areas is a critical step in that direction.”
Guests and officials gathered at Goochland’s Fire-Rescue Station 6, a location that is served by CVEC and will benefit from the installation of fiber to its premises. “Goochland’s first responders need communication that is guaranteed by high-speed internet to respond to the critical needs of its residents,” said Gary Wood, president and CEO of Firefly. “Universal broadband for unserved homes and businesses will transform lives in Goochland and Firefly is proud to be a part of the solution.”
In a joint statement, Sen. Mark Peake and Dels. John McGuire and Lee Ware said: “We applaud Goochland County and their partners’ efforts to bring needed broadband access to all of its citizens. Expanding this critical service will allow homes and businesses in the county to function in today’s digital world, and we are excited to see this partnership moving forward.”
“The investments announced today are exactly what Congress had in mind when we passed the American Rescue Plan as well as increased funding for the ReConnect Program,” added U.S. Rep. Abigail Spanberger, whose 7th District includes the area.
Additionally, officials made three announcements regarding broadband access in the county.
Shannon Hill residents learned that they will receive service faster than anticipated. The preliminary electric make-ready construction has been completed and fiber construction will begin in the next few months.
In addition, Goochland officials announced that the ReConnect grant, won by Firefly with local matching fund support from Goochland, will jumpstart the fiber build in portions of the county later this year.
In total, these two construction projects will make gigabit-speed internet service available to almost 3,400 residents of Goochland bypassing almost 1,400 locations.
In a joint statement, Goochland County Board of Supervisors Susan Lascolette and Neil Spoonhower said: “Expansion of broadband access to all of our citizens has been the No. 1 priority for Goochland County. We are incredibly proud of this partnership that marks a major milestone in the county’s efforts to ensure reliable affordable high-speed broadband internet service for all households and businesses.”
—Report by Casey Hollins, Managing Director – Communications and Public Relations, Rappahannock Electric Cooperative and Melissa Gay, Communications & Member Services Manager, Central Virginia Electric Cooperative
Above photo: From left, Sen. Mark Peake; John Lumpkins Jr., Goochland County Board of Supervisors Chair; Neil Spoonhower, Goochland County Board of Supervisors; Evan Feinman, Gov. Northam’s Chief Broadband Advisor; Susan Lascolette, Goochland County Board of Supervisors, Manuel Alvarez, Goochland interim County Administrator; Del. Lee Ware; Charlene Whitfield, Dominion Energy; Gary Wood, Firefly president & CEO; Mark Ponton, Rappahannock Electric Cooperative.