Multi-million dollar Broadband project coming to Bedford County

Verizon is extending service to homes who are considered to be in Bedford County’s coverage gap areas

BEDFORD, Va. – Construction is underway in the Big Island and Wheats Valley communities of Bedford County. Verizon, in partnership with the county, is expanding people’s access to broadband.

The project began back in January after the Board of Supervisors gave its approval. Verizon is extending service to homes that are considered to be in Bedford County’s coverage gap areas. These are addresses that were not connected during a 2019 Virginia Telecommunication imitative project.

Robert Hiss, County Administrator for Bedford County, says, “This is a project that is necessary because the county had a project in 2019 to build wireless towers to provide wireless internet. That didn’t quite work out as we had hoped, and we as a county pivoted to wanting to look at fiber internet, [and] did a solicited proposal. Verizon ended up being the best proposal for this area.”

To bring broadband as quickly as possible to the areas that don’t have access, supervisors decided to finance the project directly. They are paying for part of this new service with American Rescue Plan Funds. This equals about $727,000. Verizon is footing the other part of the bill, which is about $1.7 million.

Verizon is extending the service to about 349 addresses. The company has about 12 months to complete this expansion project. This means people in these areas should start seeing improvements by the end of 2023.

Since this is such a difficult area to bring broadband to, the project will be completed in three different phases.

“This is a pretty rural area of our community. It is very rugged. It is topographically challenging. So a few years ago, without American Rescue Act funds and some other sources, we were really trying to find internet service providers who would service these types of areas,” says Hiss.

Phase one has already begun. Right now, the community will see crews working to make sure there is fiber on power poles or underground. Phase two includes hooking citizens and businesses up with this new service.

In total, the project cost about $2.4 million.

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