Bedford County takes major step forward in high-speed internet goals

The partnership will bring broadband internet to about 95 percent of residents

By Samantha Smith - Digital Content Producer, Tommy Lopez - Weekend Anchor / Reporter

BEDFORD COUNTY, Va. - There’s a major step forward in the plans for Bedford County residents to get high-speed internet.

The county announced Tuesday afternoon that it’s going to partner with the company Blue Ridge Towers to bring broadband internet to about 95 percent of residents.

The announcement was the first involving concrete plans in the five-plus years of discussions on the topic.

Leaders said Tuesday that it’s been a long time coming. Residents, business and schools have all been hoping for faster internet speeds.

The new plans call for everything to be set up by the end of June of next year.

“We’re very happy,” said Carl Boggess, the Bedford County administrator. “Any time you can one, do something positive for economic development and, two, do something great for our kids, for education, you’ve really hit a home run.”

Two current towers will be used for the project and nine new ones will be built.

The nine new towers will be in Big Island, Bedford, Boonsboro, Thaxton, Hardy, Moneta and Huddleston. Equipment will be installed on two existing county-owned structures in Montvale and New London. It will be an 11-site system.

The county is putting $1.5 million into the project. It’s applying for state money to complete the funding.

The owner of the company with which the county is partnering said it will serve a dual role, installing the infrastructure and also being a service provider that will provide high-speed internet

“It’s a great honor to go to work for Bedford County. It’s a project that will let Blue Ridge Towers take all of our experiences and put them at the county’s disposal,” Blue Ridge Towers owner Anthony Smith said.

He said he and his staff have 20 years of experience completing projects like these.

Boggess said he’s glad the board of supervisors made it a priority to make the deal. He said Blue Ridge Towers is a “great provider.”

“The time for talking has ended. Now, it’s the time for action,” Boggess said.

A legal agreement is expected to be signed next month.

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