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Crews to Soon Begin Work on High-Speed Internet Network for Orange County

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Fiber-optic cable for a project in Orange County Fiber-optic cable for a project in Orange County
Darrell Hatfield Darrell Hatfield
ORANGE COUNTY, Va. (WVIR) -

Construction is set to soon begin on a project Orange County Public School (OCPS) officials say will be life changing for students and citizens.

A Harrisonburg-area contractor is poised to lay 38 miles of fiber-optic cable that will provide high-speed internet for OCPS, as well as a number of county residents.

“It’ll make Orange County a more connected community,” said OCPS Tech Director Darrell Hatfield.

A federal grant will cover about 80-percent of the roughly $1.1 million project. The county is picking up the rest of the tab.

Schools are currently leasing bandwidth from private contractors, which means limited internet capability. However, this project will increase each school's bandwidth from 500 megabytes to 10 gigabytes (1,000 megabytes = 1 gigabyte).

“That frees up tons of opportunities for our students to access tons of online resources: streaming video, video conferencing, all kinds of different opportunities,” Hatfield said.

Officials hope the new fiber-optic network will also help citizens have faster internet access at home and attract new businesses.

“Right now in a lot of places in Orange we don't have very very good access to high-speed internet, and so this will help bring that to our citizens,” said Hatfield.

The project is expected to take about a year to complete.

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