// GSC for WFA

August 5 was a red-letter day for Prince George Electric Cooperative, its RURALBAND subsidiary and especially for Dr. Dale Cupp, a longtime co-op member, who welcomed broadband access to his rural veterinary practice. RURALBAND brought high-speed internet fiber service for the first time to Cabin Point Veterinary Hospital & Equine Service, located a mile down a gravel road in Disputanta. It represents the first connection under a Virginia Telecommunications Initiative grant and officials called it a step forward toward ensuring everyone in Sussex County who wants broadband will be able to get it by the end of 2023. “We’re going to leave no home left unserved,” said Casey Logan, president and CEO of PGEC and RURALBAND, who noted two of every three new businesses in Virginia are run out of homes, making high-speed internet a business necessity. “We’re changing lives in our communities; we’re making a difference. We’re hopefully going to keep people in our communities, kids who want to go to school or go to college over the internet, we’re giving them those opportunities.” Cupp’s veterinary practice, which has been in Disputanta for 24 years, was the beneficiary of the connection. “Our internet service has been horrible,” he said. “I go three days and can’t get my email, so we’ve been looking for this for a long time.” Logan said PGEC “has been fortunate” to work with Sussex County on the project, as well as with other entities. Dominion Energy, Community Electric Cooperative, Mecklenburg Electric Cooperative and Southside Electric Cooperative all serve parts of Sussex, but the PGEC subsidiary will wire all customers, regardless of electric provider.  Sussex County Administrator Richard Douglas said having broadband available across Sussex will be “transformational for us. … I think it is very important to note that we are able to achieve countywide broadband without any local tax dollars.” Other dignitaries included Del. Otto Wachsmann, whose 75th District includes Sussex; Susan B. Seward, chair of the Sussex Board of Supervisors; Supervisor Rufus E. Tyler Sr.; Waverly Mayor Angela McPhaul; Jesse Hellyer, board chair of the Sussex Chamber of Commerce and Frank Irving of the Sussex Public Service Authority. —Report by Steven Johnson, Vice President, Communications, VMD Association