December 17, 2020 (Botetourt, VA) – Botetourt County today announced that they have received a Fast Track Broadband grant in the amount of $569,808 to help increase broadband accessibility to underserved citizens in the community.
During the last three years, Botetourt County has made significant investments to improve and expand broadband access. They have secured more than $3.3 million in grant funding to support and prioritize broadband expansion initiatives.
“Our efforts to connect all of Botetourt continue to move forward and we are thankful for the latest round of funding through the state of Virginia,” Dr. Mac Scothorn, Vice Chairman, Botetourt County Board of Supervisors and Chairman of the Botetourt Broadband Advisory Council said. “These funds not only help to bring much needed high-speed internet service to citizens, but, in this critical moment, are also expanding opportunities for distance learning, telehealth, and remote work as we all continue to deal with the impacts and new realities associated with the Covid-19 pandemic.”
This latest grant specifically provides Botetourt with a Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) 3-sector node and 250 fixed wireless Customer Premise Units (CPEs) for use in the Fincastle area. Mapping of the service area will be developed and shared with the community as soon as possible in early spring.
CBRS is a newer fixed wireless broadband deployment technology that can be placed into service quickly and deliver reliable high-speed service to citizens.
“There aren’t many rural communities like ours that have been able to leverage this newer technology yet,” County Administrator Gary Larrowe said. “So it’s exciting. We’re expecting to have some additional service options for some members of our community as soon as this coming spring. In the meantime, we are continuing push hard to reach 100% county-wide broadband connectivity with reliable service options and speed offerings of at least 25 Mbps download and 3Mbps upload for everyone.”
CBRS technology was first introduced to Botetourt County by the Roanoke Valley Broadband Authority who is already in the process of implementing two nodes in the Greenfield area. This latest grant will now allow for a third CBRS broadcast location. CBRS is a newer technology that was originally developed for military deployment.
“CBRS technology can provide speeds greater than traditional fixed wireless configurations and the newly available spectrum is starting to be used to provide last mile connectivity because the economics are often superior,” Frank Smith, President and CEO of the Roanoke Valley Broadband Authority said. “As we seek to ensure the entire Roanoke Valley is connected, we’re excited to not only leverage the backbone network we’ve been building, but also to start taking advantage of new technological innovations like this to provide more value, to more people, more quickly.”