"Connect Hanover" - Drive for Universal Broadband Coverage is a Go in Hanover County with receipt of $13.97 million State Broadband grant
On December 13, 2021, Governor Ralph Northam announced the approval of Hanover County’s application for a Virginia Telecommunications Initiative (VATI) grant in the amount of $13.97 million. Today’s funding announcement will deliver a total investment of over $55 million of new broadband infrastructure to serve Hanover County residents.
This funding from the State will leverage the County's American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) contribution of $14.84 million and private corporate investment from All Points Broadband, Dominion Energy and Rappahannock Electric Cooperative will make broadband service available to almost 6200 residents and businesses in Hanover that do not currently have sufficient internet access.
“Hanover is proud of our partnership with All Points Broadband and regional utility providers,” stated Hanover County Administrator John A. Budesky. “This Partnership will deliver the reality of high-speed internet to many under and unserved areas of our county. This partnership demonstrates the County’s commitment to our residents in meeting this need and delivers on the recommendations of the efforts of the County’s Broadband Advisory Committee.”
“Today is a historic day for Hanover County,” said Jimmy Carr, Chief Executive Officer of All Points Broadband. “We are honored to be partnering with the County to seize this once-in-a-generation opportunity to fully and finally bridge the digital divide with a project that will extend an all-fiber broadband network to all remaining unserved locations in the county.”
It is anticipated that contracts and other agreements will be signed in the spring of 2022, with funding to become available in July 2022. Equipment will be ordered at that time with initial construction anticipated in the fall of 2022. Also, a phasing plan will be developed to determine in which areas of the County construction will begin.
Buildout of the system is estimated to be complete within 24-36 months of July 1, 2022. Service will be available to customers as construction in that particular area is completed. A more detailed construction timeframe will be made available next year. Residents and businesses who want to learn more about the project, sign up for updates, or pre-register their locations for service once available should visit fiber.allpointsbroadband.com and complete a survey.
“This grant provides the much needed component of funding to Hanover County’s Broadband Access Plan,” said Sean Davis, Chairman of the Board of Supervisors. “This was the missing piece required to execute a very comprehensive and rather strategic initiative. We told the citizens how we would leverage existing dollars in order to compete for grant money, and today we can announce that the plan presented to the citizens was a success – as evidenced by the grant award. We as a Board are grateful to the citizens who helped build this plan and to all the folks who will now begin the work of bringing Broadband access to our rural areas. On behalf of your Board of Supervisors, I thank you all.”
“In a world where broadband access is more critical than ever, today’s announcements are an exciting step forward in the process of making internet access a reality for all Virginians,” said Alan Bradshaw, vice president of Strategic Partnerships for Dominion Energy. “Partnerships like this one in Hanover County show that when we work together, we can make a real impact, and we’re proud to work with our partners to bring this service to the communities we serve.” Dominion Energy will support the extension of broadband to unserved areas by deploying middle-mile fiber that All Points will use to connect end-customers to the Internet.
“At Rappahannock Electric Cooperative, our goal has always been to be part of the solution to enable and facilitate broadband to the households and businesses we serve,” said John Hewa, president and CEO of Rappahannock Electric Cooperative. “Being able to partner on this endeavor with the counties and All Points Broadband is a major accomplishment allowing each of us to further the Commonwealth’s goals of making broadband access available to everyone.”
In addition, Lumen Technologies, formerly known as CenturyLink, will be extending fiber service to over 1000 additional locations using the federal Rural Digital Opportunity Funding. These two concurrent efforts will essentially provide universal broadband internet coverage for all of Hanover County.
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.