LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Let local firm compete for fiber

To the editor:

I have fiber-optic cable to my home. I get continual high-speed broadband service. And, I live in Louisa County.

I didn’t get this wonderful service from the Louisa County Board of Supervisors.  I got it from iWiSP. They approached my property owners’ association with an offer to provide fiber to the home to all our members for $75 a month at a minimum of 30 megabits per second, with no limits, caps or hidden costs.

iWiSP came to us years ago and provided the only wireless internet service on the Louisa side of Lake Anna. Wireless was not without its difficulties (disruption from lightning strikes, storms, leaves on trees, heavy use, etc.) but it was way better than dial-up modems or hot spots (since it was way cheaper). For the past eight years the Louisa County Broadband Authority has been trying to move more citizens into the broadband age, but with limited success.

Now iWiSP is working to complete fiber to the home in our community. Again, we are the first to get this much higher level of service. Another nearby association may piggyback off our services with no reduction of service level for us after it is completely installed.

Will the county be able to convince the electric utilities to offer this service with just $15 million “reserved” for this effort? Rappahannock Electric Cooperative forecasts it would cost $500 million (or more) to provide this to their 12,000 customers. Earlier this summer I listened in on a call with the chief executive officer of REC, who said at that time they had reservations about providing this service except as a carrier along existing routes. Getting to the home was not viewed as part of their strategy, since existing wiring cannot be used and additional fiber-optic cables must be installed from the street to the home.

So, why not get local businesses more involved? Why limit the partnership to just the electric company and the county government? iWiSP operates around Lake Anna. Why not include them in the planning for fiber to the home? I’m loving my fiber-optic internet service. Why shouldn’t more of Louisa County have the same opportunity?

Larry Zemke  

Mineral

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