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Nelson County High-Speed Internet in the Works - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Nelson County High-Speed Internet in the Works

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A Charlottesville-based Internet provider is building its network to bring high-speed service to rural Nelson County. The long-planned project is expected to put businesses and homes online early in the new year.

High-speed, fiber optic Internet service is expected to reach Nelson County in 2013. Blue Ridge InternetWorks (BRI), the company overseeing the connection, says it is focusing on businesses first.

Businesses like Veritas Vineyard & Winery in Nelson County are wiring up for high-speed Internet service. "Blue Ridge InternetWorks sent us an email that said if there was such a thing, would you be interested and I said ‘yes, sign me up,'" said Andrew Hodson, owner of Veritas Vineyard & Winery.

Nelson County chose BRI to manage the new fiber optic backbone that runs through the center of the county from Colleen to Afton. Hodson is looking forward to broadband.

"I think it's going to benefit the businesses," he said. "I think it's going to benefit trade and commerce in Nelson County. I think one of Nelson County's greatest assets is the fact that we got the rural setting. We've got the wineries in that rural setting, and by having a broadband connection it will bring people."

BRI has already established one long-haul connection to an operation center in Lovingston and crews are working on a second.

Tom Garland, fiber network sales manager for BRI, said, "The federal grant that enabled the county to build the initial 30 mile loop, then needs a connection to the outside world and then obviously some management of the network from within. So our ability to help manage the network to deploy services to businesses and residences comes with the connection to the outside world or to the Internet."

BRI says the target time frame to fire up Internet service for businesses is still early January. The company is hoping to connect residential customers shortly after.

"Without a doubt, residences and businesses of Nelson County will be much more able to utilize the Internet and it's trying to keep it that simple," said Garland.

Veritas Vineyard & Winery hopes the service will benefit the county's business community. Hodson said, "I think the broadband will be that spark that sets off a very much improved commerce to Nelson County."

The Nelson County broadband project was made possible by a $1.8 million federal grant. Pricing for the Internet service is still being determined.

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