King William County upgraded to gigabit-speed internet at the end of March in an effort to modernize and promote economic development in the area.
The county’s Internet Connectivity Committee Chairman and Economic Development Authority Board Member Edwin Moren said the group hopes to bring similar broadband service to residents and local businesses.
“Not only to get into the real 21st century, but economic development, of course,” Moren said. “To incentivize businesses, high-tech people to work from home, medical services, health services, telemedicine — those are things that are just quality of life enhancements. There’s all sort of reasons why we’re trying to do this.”
The Lumos broadband connection is for King William County Public Schools and the county administration and court buildings, which switched on March 27, according to county systems engineer Corey Andrews.
“There was a Verizon, ancient, 25-year-old fiber going to the schools on their past contract, but that was determined to be obsolete. Not what could meet today's requirements for schools. There was no Fios,” Moren said.
The county directly contracted with the internet service provider Lumos Networks, recently rebranded as Segra, a fiber-optic provider in the Mid-Atlantic region. The county’s schools will pay for the service through an E-rate program with the Virginia Department of Education.
The change in service had no cost to taxpayers.
On March 25, the Board of Supervisors approved the transfer of the county’s Comcast franchise agreement, which services about 40 people, to Atlantic Broadband. When Atlantic Broadband gets approval from the Federal Communication Commission, they have promised to give the county more information on how they plan to build cable and internet services for residents and businesses.
As of now, there is no broadband internet and cable service provided to the county. Residents and businesses use a variety of services, including DSL and satellite.
“Hopefully, within a few weeks we'll be asked to work with Atlantic Broadband on more detailed information and plans for residential and small businesses. It’s likely going to be a public-private partnership with a company that wants to come into King William,” Moren said. “That’s where we, on the EDA, come in and look at perhaps a public investment, i.e taxpayer money, to partner to get services out to where we need it. That takes a lot of time.”
The county is making active advancements toward modern internet service for all residents.
“So now we have the Lumos network middle mile fiber,” Moren said. “We are looking forward to working with Atlantic Broadband to see what we can partner with and build out even further in the community for residential.”
Martin can be reached at (757)-243-3685, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @SaraRoseMartin.