The Central Virginian

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Promises kept

Posted on Friday, January 19, 2018 at 5:00 am

Many residents in Louisa County have pleaded for years for the county’s help in establishing a broadband backbone so that they can have access to internet services that are better than what is the equivalent in speed to dial up.

Anyone who lives outside of the higher population centers of the county knows how frustrating it is to be able to use a laptop to pay a bill, link to a class or help their child research a topic for homework.

The board of supervisors took steps to make Louisa a better place to live by establishing a broadband authority, which in turn hired a consultant, to help guide them to make the best decision they could to bring Louisa into this century.

There are some, albeit a small majority of residents, who would prefer that their tax dollars not be spent to build broadband infrastructure on what they view as soon to be outdated technology. Yes, fiber is the cream of the crop when it comes to providing high speed internet service, but the cost to put it in the ground is downright prohibitive. That’s why the large telecommunications companies haven’t done it themselves thus far.

In the meantime, citizens want a step above what they have right now—which is basically nothing for many. If you’ve ever had to drive around your farm or neighborhood to find a full bar of service on your iPad, you would know exactly what I mean. Or, as many can relate, driven in sheer desperation 30 minutes or more to a library parking lot or fast food restaurant at night just to access the internet.

It’s a crying shame that some members of the board of supervisors want to drive a wedge into the progress that has already been made and after the county has spent nearly $200,000 to date to bring us to the brink of building a tower.

At Tuesday night’s board of supervisors meeting, just one vote could have resulted in a decision to put the brakes on the tower project. Thankfully, for all those residents who also pay taxes in this county and who support the project, the vote swung in their favor.

For now, it would appear that towers are the best option available to kickstart the broadband revolution in Louisa. Maybe later, other options can be rolled into the plan. But for now, supervisors should keep their promises to constituents and move forward. At the same time, they should be having a serious discussion with other partners to see if more can be done.