Some Rappahannock Electric Cooperative (REC) member-owners in Louisa County are one step closer to having access to broadband internet service.
In June, REC began the make-ready engineering and design process for the fiber build in partnership with Firefly Fiber Broadband. Authorized contractors from Pike Engineering are currently working in the Shannon Hill area conducting pole-by-pole surveys to determine what preparations are needed to existing facilities for the fiber installation.
“This is a significant milestone in the process to bring broadband to the REC service territory in Louisa County,” said John Hewa, REC president and CEO. “We look forward to completing work in these initial areas of the county and continuing to expand.”
Over the next several weeks, residents will see authorized contractors from Pike Engineering in the Shannon Hill area and possibly on their property. Once survey work is completed around Shannon Hill, Pike Engineering will move to the area of REC’s Mt. Hope substation off of Route 33 and Paynes Mill Road in the eastern end of Louisa County.
After field engineering is complete, make ready construction crews will move into the areas to make modifications to the poles and change some poles. Following the make ready construction, fiber construction will begin as the fiber optic cable is added to the electric facilities. After that step, splicing will take place and then service extensions will be added. The entire process will take six to eight months from the beginning of make ready engineering to the final connections inside homes.
“The construction of the fiber infrastructure takes some time, but the result is a long-term solution that will provide long term benefits to the electric system and provide internet access to REC members. We appreciate the patience of the members as we build this new state of the art network,” says Casey Hollins, REC spokesperson and managing director – communications and public relations.
As REC and Firefly continue to define the order of work throughout Louisa County, member-owners will be notified directly and updates will be provided. Some REC member-owners in the Shannon Hill and Mt. Hope areas can expect to receive notifications from Firefly near the end of 2021 inviting them to sign-up for service. “Firefly is excited that the work has begun to further expand access to gigabit speed fiber internet service in Louisa County. We recognize the need for reliable, affordable broadband service and we are happy to be working with REC to meet those needs for families and small businesses in Louisa County,” said Dennis Reece, General Manager of Firefly.
Serving as the cornerstone of the project in Louisa County, REC will own the fiber network constructed in the majority of the county. It is providing use of its infrastructure to Firefly, including poles, to make the Louisa County broadband initiative a reality.
Firefly is the internet service provider for the partnership and will ensure the availability of fiber broadband on a county-wide basis. Firefly will oversee construction of the REC-owned fiber in the REC service territory and then be responsible for network operation and fiber maintenance.