Hanover County Announces "Connect Hanover" Partnership With All Points Broadband, Dominion Energy Virginia and REC
Date Published
July 28, 2021

Hanover County today 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 lease “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 and other areas of the Commonwealth. All Points will serve as the partnership’s last-mile internet service provider and be responsible for providing service to end users in Hanover County.  

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 will consider appropriating 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.  

“Broadband is probably the No. 1 issue that we hear about from our citizens on a day-to-day basis,” Budesky said. “The proposed investment will also enable us to leverage state and federal funds and make us much more competitive for grants.” 

“This is a tremendous opportunity for Hanover County as well our rural residents who have been impacted by the lack of access to broadband that many in suburban areas currently have,” said Board of Supervisors Chairman, Sean M. Davis. “Over the years, through citizen contact and information received from two citizen-lead broadband access committees, the Board was keenly aware of access limitations.  We also knew that there had to be a more long-term and sustainable approach than simply providing County funding to supply the service.  That funding wasn’t possible because we had to ensure the appropriate level of funding for law enforcement, education, and the like.  In the private sector you rely on partnerships, so we set out to forge those partnerships in order provide a viable solution.  Now that this partnership has been created, we are excited for the opportunity to support remote education for our students and to provide economic opportunities for our businesses.  We are more than fortunate for this partnership - as it marks the beginning of that journey.”

“All Points is excited to begin our important work with Hanover, our electric utility partners, and other providers who will be part of achieving universal access in the County,” said Jimmy Carr, Chief Executive Officer of All Points Broadband. “Public-private partnerships that leverage partnerships between electric utilities and internet service providers are making fiber-to-the-home possible in currently unserved areas, and we are applying this proven strategy in Hanover.”

“Broadband access is more important than ever, and we’re proud to work with our partners in Hanover County to be part of the solution and help bring this critical resource to the communities we serve,” said Charlene Whitfield, Senior Vice President of Power Delivery, Dominion Energy. Added John Hewa, President and CEO of REC: “We are proud to partner with Hanover and All Points Broadband to help bridge the rural digital divide. REC is committed to improving the lives of the residents and businesses that we serve and improving broadband access certainly achieves that mission.”

By the end of August, All Points Broadband will develop a network design for presentation to the Board of Supervisors and approval in September. The County will apply for grants through the Virginia Telecommunications Initiative (VATI) in September. Grant announcements will be made by late 2021 or early 2022, and funding would be made available by July 2022. The utility partners anticipate construction could begin as early as fall of 2022. 

Hanover’s program is consistent with Governor Northam’s goal to provide universal broadband service to every home and business in Virginia.

“I am thrilled to see this project moving forward to bring much needed broadband access to unserved areas in Hanover County,” said Sen. Ryan T. McDougle. “This critical service will improve quality of life, foster economic prosperity and help move our region forward.

The County looks forward to continuing its successful relationships with Lumen and Comcast to see that all homes and businesses in their service areas have access to broadband.

“We look forward to collaborating with all partners in the County to ensure universal broadband access is available to any County resident that wants it,” Budesky said.

How to Be Sure Your Home or Business is Included
Residents are encouraged to contact their State and Federal legislators and ask them to support broadband funding. If you are a person or business owner who wants broadband but does not have it, please complete the broadband availability survey at fiber.allpointsbroadband.com and complete a brief survey to determine whether your location has been identified as unserved by fiber and to subscribe for project information and updates. 

Yes, the goal is to ensure that unserved residents have access to broadband speeds via a fiber internet connection that will be deployed on a countywide basis. 

Unserved is any area of the County where service does not meet the minimum service speeds of 25 Mbps download and 3 Mbps upload from a fixed wireless or wired connection. Unserved also includes those residents currently relying on such options as satellite, DSL, cell phones and mobile “hot spots”.

  • August 2021 – All Points Broadband develops a network design for presentation to the Board of Supervisors. Citizens are asked to provide feedback on current service levels
  • September 2021 – Presentation and approval from Hanover County Board of Supervisors
  • September 2021 - Hanover County applies for funding through the Virginia Telecommunications Initiative (VATI)
  • December 2021/January 2022 – Notifications of Virginia Telecommunications (VATI) grant awards received
  • Early 2022 – Dominion Energy application to SCC  for middle-mile work
  • Fall 2022 – Pending grant funding awards and regulatory approval, utility partners and county anticipate construction to begin.
     
  • Hanover County will apply for funding through the Virginia Telecommunications Initiative (VATI)
  • Hanover will consider the use of American Rescue Plan Act funds to leverage state and federal funds on July 28, 2021.
  • Corporate investments from partners
  • Possible local funding from adopted FY22 County Budget
     

To be determined. The goal is to leverage state and federal grant funding first before we consider possible local funding from the adopted FY22 County budget.

Electric utilities can help by utilizing fiber capacity for both their operational needs and for broadband access, reducing broadband deployment costs for ISPs to reach unserved homes and businesses

It may be either, depending on existing infrastructure. 

Plans are under development and preliminary costs will be shared at the Sept. 8, 2021 Board of Supervisors meeting.

There will not be any data caps.

These details are still being discussed and additional details will be provided once they are finalized. Our initial goal is to make service available to everyone by project completion.

 The standard installation will include all required equipment.

All Points Broadband is the service provider for residents and will bill for service. In addition, Lumen, Comcast or other providers may also deliver service as part of the Connect Hanover initiative.

The goal of the partnership is to ensure that all of the homes and businesses in the county have access to fiber broadband service. Ultimately, additional providers may spur more competition, improve quality and price competition.

These details are still being discussed and additional details will be provided once they are finalized. However, deployment will branch outward from existing fiber connections and will be organized to maximize the efficiency of the total buildout.
 

Deployment plans will be shared at the Sept. 8 Board of Supervisors meeting. Ultimately the build out will be based on available funding and designated areas of electrical infrastructure and customer demand.

Several factors contribute to the timeline for overall deployment. A primary consideration that increases both time and cost are efforts to make the system ready for construction. These involve preparing existing power infrastructure to be able to carry additional lines in a manner that is safe to those around the infrastructure and which can efficiently accommodate any future repairs. This allows fiber to be hung at a safe height below the power lines in order to accommodate repairs and necessary ground clearance. The fiber construction processes in each area can take anywhere from 12 to 18 months.   

Fiber represents a county-wide, cost-effective solution. Extensive studies indicate that fiber technology will be superior to other technologies both now and into the future. Fiber also offers an extremely high degree of reliability compared to alternatives.allows fiber to be hung at a safe height below the power lines in order to accommodate repairs and necessary ground clearance. The fiber construction processes in each area can take anywhere from 12 to 18 months.   

Please contact any of the partners for further details.

For questions about internet service, speeds or pricing: Fiber.allpointsbroadband.com 
For more information about Dominion Energy’s middle-mile projects, visit www.dominionenergy.com/broadband 
 

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