The Internet is about to get a lot faster for many in Nelson County. After the first of the year the Blue Ridge InternetWorks fiber optic system will be available. The project was funded by $1.8 million of federal stimulus money. After nearly five years of planning the county and Blue Ridge Internetworks say they are happy to finally launch the connection.
Most of Nelson County currently use dial-up and satellite connections for Internet. The new system will give Internet users a fast connection without buying all the bells and whistles.
"High-speed Internet not bundled with phone deals and television packages, just good high-speed Internet," said President of Blue Ridge InternetWorks, Baylor Fooks.
The county's director of information systems, Susan Rorrer, says the new system is arriving at a good time. Existing Firebird connections are expensive and in very short supply.
"We've worked on the project for a number of years and we're glad to finally see that come to closure and actually be in a position to get services to businesses and residents in the community," said Rorrer.
The fiber optic cables for the service were installed from the north end of Nelson County to the south, from Colleen to Afton. Homes and businesses closest to the fibers will get the connection first.
Fooks says current Internet connections in Nelson County do not allow users to stream video, or use YouTube or iTunes.
"Unlike dial-up, which everybody knows is slow, this is capable of being hundreds of times faster than DSL or cable modem technology," said Fooks.
Next week they will begin installing the last of the equipment and light the fiber - causing it to switch on. Blue Ridge is still working to determine how much the service will cost. The county is looking for additional Internet service providers to sign up- Blue Ridge being just one of them.