What problem is our State VATI broadband grant trying to solve?
The goal of the Connect Hanover initiative is to provide broadband internet service to all Hanover County homes and businesses. The VATI broadband grant leverages State grant funding to ensure that all homes and businesses in the County have access to broadband internet service. The current application has targeted approximately 6198 homes and businesses that are designated as unserved to have service available.
Will everyone in the County be served?
Yes, the goal is to ensure that unserved residents and businesses have access to broadband speeds via a fiber internet connection that will be deployed on a countywide basis.
How is unserved defined?
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.”
What is the County’s role in the Connect Hanover initiative?
State law does not allow Hanover County to be an internet service provider. The County must partner with a private internet service provider. Hanover has also committed a portion of the Federal American Rescue Plan Act funds to the project. When all construction is completed, All Points Broadband will be the primary point of contact as the internet service provider like other non-county utility providers.
How was All Points Selected?
All Points Broadband was selected through a competitive process in accordance with the Virginia Public Procurement Act. The process considered experience, qualifications of project team, project approach, scope of services and cost.
Why is my home not included on the unserved area map?
We appreciate the 3,000+ homes that filled out the broadband survey. What was submitted as part of the grant is the first step in determining all unserved homes in the County. This was a high-level initial design effort. As the project moves forward, more detailed design will be performed that will likely expand the number of homes to be served. The goal is to ensure that unserved residents have access to broadband speeds via a fiber internet connection. If you feel you were missed, please share this information to https://fiber.allpointsbroadband.com.
When will I get internet service?
Funding for the project has been secured, contracts and agreements have been signed, initial equipment orders have been placed, and construction crews are being organized. Initial construction is on schedule to begin in the Fall 2022. A phasing plan has not been finalized at this time. The VATI grant contract commits to having service to all identified locations within 24 months. It has not been determined in which part(s) of the County construction will begin. Customers will be able to start service as construction in that particular area is completed.
What speeds and rates will be offered?
Four speed tiers will be offered by All Points Broadband that are fully symmetrical:
- 50/50 mbps at $59.99/month
- 100/100 mbps at $79.99/month
- 500/500 mbps at $99.99/month
- 1/1 gbps at $119.99/month
Customers will also have the ability to subscribe to VOIP phone service with multiple calling features and local and continental US long distance calls included for an additional $14.99/month.
I have Comcast or another provider now - so what is the benefit of the Connect Hanover initiative to me?
New providers to the market will ultimately lead to improved competition. This competition may have an impact to service levels and rates over time.
I am told I am in a Comcast area, but they have quoted me a substantial fee to connect. How can this help?
We are aware of a number of locations that have been reported with this situation. We plan to work with Comcast to “close these gaps” as part of our ultimate goal of getting all homes connected.
My house is far off the road. How will I benefit or be impacted from this project?
All Points Broadband has committed to extending fiber internet service to all homes and businesses in the County regardless of their distance from the road at no cost if individuals sign up for service within one year of service availability.
How will the County fund this effort?
- Virginia Telecommunications Initiative (VATI) State grant – $13,970,000
- Hanover has appropriated American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds – $14,840,000
- Corporate investments from partners (All Points Broadband) - $26,629,000
Are public dollars being spent on this project?
The Board has appropriated $16.8 million of federal ARPA funds. The goal is to leverage state and private funds to fully fund the initiative.
Why partner with electric utility companies?
Electric utilities can help by utilizing fiber capacity for both their operational needs and for broadband access to provide middle mile fiber, reducing broadband deployment costs for ISPs to reach “unserved” homes and businesses.
Will the fiber be above ground or below?
It may be either, depending on existing infrastructure.
Will there be any data caps?
There will not be any data caps.
Will equipment be provided?
The standard installation will include all required equipment.
Who will provide and bill for the service?
All Points Broadband is the service provider for residents and will bill for service.
What if I’m in an area that already has a fiber provider?
If you have broadband internet service at 25 Megabits per second (Mbps) download and 3 Mbps upload you are currently considered served. 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.
Where will the service be deployed first?
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.
When will I know service is available in my area?
Deployment plans will be shared after detailed plans have been approved. Ultimately the build out will be based on available funding and designated areas of electrical infrastructure and customer demand.
Why does it take so long?
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.
Why fiber and not other technologies?
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.
I have more questions; whom do I contact?
For questions about internet service, speeds or pricing: https://fiber.allpointsbroadband.com/
For more information about Dominion Energy’s middle-mile projects, visit www.dominionenergy.com/broadband
For information about Rappahannock Electric Cooperative’s partnership projects, visit www.myrec.coop/broadband