Regional partnership could expand broadband to more than 25,000 Central Virginians

Published: Jun. 24, 2021 at 10:34 AM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Firefly Fiber Broadband is partnering with Central Virginia’s energy companies and localities to expand broadband service to homes and businesses without internet access.

The agreement, which was enabled by legislation passed during the 2021 General Assembly session, could extend access to more than 25,000 Virginians who currently lack access to reliable broadband service.

“This partnership marks a major step forward in ensuring that the communities we serve have access to quality, high speed internet that is critical to allowing homes, businesses and educational institutions to function in today’s digital world,” said Ed Baine, president of Dominion Energy Virginia. “We are excited to work with Firefly Fiber Broadband, Rappahannock Electric Cooperative and each participating county to help support the expansion of this critical service.”

The partnership includes Dominion Energy Virginia, Firefly Fiber Broadband, Rappahannock Electric Cooperative and the counties of Albemarle, Appomattox, Buckingham, Cumberland, Fluvanna, Goochland, Greene, Louisa and Powhatan.

Rappahannock Electric Cooperative will own a fiber network where it delivers electricity in Louisa, Albemarle, Goochland and Greene counties. Firefly will serve as the internet service provider. This project will improve reliability while modernizing the grid to provide advanced energy solutions, according to a release from Rappahannock Electric.

Dominion Energy is installing fiber in rural areas as it moves forward with efforts to transform Virginia’s energy grid. This fiber can be used for operational needs and broadband access, reducing broadband costs for internet providers. Under the agreement, Firefly will lease the “middle-mile” fiber installed by Dominion Energy in the company’s electric service area in nine rural counties.

The participating companies and localities will work forward with a phased approach. Dominion Energy Virginia will issue an application to the State Corporation Commission to seek regulatory approval in early 2022.

For households and businesses: Visit this link from your home or work computer using your internet connection and follow the link to complete a short survey. Be prepared to provide your address and what internet service options you have. If you have fixed wireless or wired internet service, you will also run a speed test. Satellite or cell phone services will not be required to run the speed test.

Firefly Fiber Broadband is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Central Virginia Electric Cooperative that offers fast internet via fiber. More information can be found here.

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