A project that was supposed to bring better internet to the residents of Nelson County is out of funds. The funds were obtained through a Federal grant to provide “middle-mile” construction. The final portion of the construction that will connect to the new internet line costs in excess of $1,000.
These fees may be shocking to some residents and owners, but this is exactly why the existing fiber-optic lines are underused. The construction of the line from the street to the house (regular subdivision) many years ago cost in excess of $16,000. It really is immaterial, since for a lot of people, $1,000 is too much. Welcome to the “digital divide”.
Rural areas have always been underserved, due to the distances involved with a lot fewer customers in a typical rural county. The same situation exists in politics. Rural areas are nearly ignored in favor of anyplace that has a big population. Evidently, votes are worth more in Richmond and Fairfax than they are in Dublin or Madison. So are potential internet users.
Michael Levi, who lives in Nelson County, says he was all for purchasing the new broadband Internet until he learned about the construction fee. He says it’s a fee many people can’t afford, and he believes that defeats the entire purpose of the project.
“The whole idea of supposedly the national government’s plan to get Internet to rural neighborhoods was so everybody could have it,” Levi said.
Fooks says there is a way to cut down on the construction fee. Neighbors can split the cost of a fiber optic line, to be installed from the network backbone to their homes. Then they can each pay the individual price from where the optic line ends to their individual property lines.
Other providers can still jump on board the project but Fooks says it doesn’t matter which provider you pick – there’s no getting around the construction fee.
A video is also at the site of the story, linked above the quote above.