Albemarle County Moving Ahead with Broadband Internet Plans

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Albemarle County is moving ahead with its latest plans to bring broadband internet to rural areas of the county.

Last Wednesday, the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors voted to create a board that would help expand broadband internet service in rural areas of the county.

“It was a recommendation that came through a very well developed plan of telecommunication plan for the county,” Michael Culp, IT director, said.

That plan paved way to the creation of a board called the Albemarle Broadband Authority.

“The creation of the ABA is an indication that the board is committed to expanded accessibility and affordability of broadband in Albemarle County,” Rick Randolph, Scottsville District supervisor, said.

There are roughly 3,400 people without internet in the county, but Randolph say that number could be higher if you include those with unreliable internet like satellites.

“Satellites go down, cloud cover when they need to be working on business today,” Randolph said. “Some people on an internet basis may not have the reliability of internet access.”

The county says they expand throughout the county in a patchwork pattern to fill in one area with another.

“Name a service provider that's providing service in Albemarle and we want to work with them, whether it's CenturyLink , Comcast, Verizon, Ting, you can name many and we want to partner with them to make sure they're doing their best to bring service out to the rural areas,” Culp said.

Although the board has been created, they're still waiting for the state to approve their charter.

"Once we get the charter, then we would welcome the public to attend our public meetings, all of our meetings are public meetings," Randolph said.

The ABA is made up of six people from the community, board of supervisors and county staff.

The goal is to create access to an average speed of 10 megabits per second. Officials say the project will is to be funded through private and government grants.