Fellow broadband committee member Brad Davis and I received an update on May 25 from Charter/Spectrum who will be providing broadband services to locations in both Patrick and Carroll counties along the Parkway south of “downtown” Meadows of Dan, and below the mountain near Ararat. Pre-construction work including engineering, permitting and right-of-way agreements is nearly complete. They are scheduled to begin construction in July, and as they complete work in nearby Rockingham County, N.C. later in the summer and fall, they will transfer these crews to Patrick. They are not ready to publish completion dates just yet but will be pushing the project hard. Further information on schedules, costs, and services will be publicized in a few months, but things are looking great and the long-awaited FTTH services are just around the corner. Telephone and other services will also be available.
In case you missed the recent announcements of additional State VATI grants for the RiverStreet (RSN) service areas, the West Piedmont Planning District Commission won three of the available grants for almost one-third of the total $59 million awarded in the state for broadband projects in 2023. Over $300 million in requests were submitted, so competition was fierce. Michael Armbrister, who heads up the broadband projects for several counties including Patrick, as well as Sean Adkins deserve a huge thank you for all their hard work and great success for our area. Patrick County will receive the bulk of the $8 million just awarded in a joint application by Patrick, Henry and Franklin counties. These funds will provide FTTH service to locations which were not eligible for previous VATI grants. This brings the total funding just for Patrick County broadband to over $50 million. This grant along with previous funding is expected to complete FTTH availability to essentially the entire county. Design and permitting on the RSN projects will be completed beginning this fall as soon as the State Corporation Commission rules on the Appalachian Power Company Middle-Mile Fiber rate case, and construction will begin a few months afterward. As soon as the SCC approval is granted, RSN will be able to provide public information on their project schedule and other details.
(Terry is the chairman of the Patrick County Broadband Committee)