The Virginia Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission approved a grant awarding $334,396 for Phase 2 of the county’s broadband initiative when it met Thursday in Danville.
The Halifax County Broadband Initiative – Phase 2 is a multi-jurisdictional effort in that residents and businesses in Pittsylvania County, Campbell County, Charlotte and Mecklenburg County will be able to access affordable and high-speed broadband.
The county’s grant was one of 14 Last Mile Broadband Program requests that will provide over 16,000 new homes and businesses with a high-quality broadband connection of at least 10 Mbps. Increasing access to broadband internet has long been a commission priority and this latest investment builds on significant investments made over the commission’s 20-year existence.
Over just the last two years the commission has invested in projects that will provide access to more than 47,000 homes and businesses.
In addition to providing service in Halifax County, the broadband initiative here is aimed at providing service to unserved residents in rural areas in Pittsylvania, Campbell, Charlotte and Mecklenburg counties.
Over the course of a couple of years, rural unserved residents of Halifax County will be able to move fully into the cyber economy of the 21st century. Through the installation of wireless internet, areas that previously could not be served cost effectively will have affordable service, according to the executive summary provided by the county in its request for funding.
Unlike high-cost fiber or corporate IT companies focused on short-term profit only, regional wireless internet run by SCS Broadband will bridge the digital divide.
J. T. Davis, chair of the Halifax County Board of Supervisors’ broadband committee, acknowledged the broadband project is moving “very, very slow,” but he is quick to add, “It will get done. We have laid the groundwork.”
Davis, who confirmed Friday he would not be seeking re-election to the ED-1 supervisors seat, said he anticipates seeing progress by the end of this year.
Halifax received $206,202 for Phase 1 wireless deployment in the initial LMB round to fill the coverage gaps in the northern portion of the county.
While the application’s outcomes indicate 2,784 premises passed at a cost to the tobacco commission of $120 per premise, those outcomes appear to cover both phases 1 and 2.
SCS Broadband, the wireless internet service provider (WISP) tasked with providing broadband internet to county residents living in rural areas, is partnering with the county to build the network that will provide service to paying subscribers.