- Feature Links
1. What is the background of the County's broadband project?
Dinwiddie County was awarded a grant through the Department of Housing and Community Development’s (DHCD), Virginia Telecommunications Initiative (VATI) for $7,532,055 to expand broadband to all unserved and/or underserved areas of the County. To accomplish this, Dinwiddie County collaborated with RuralBand, a subsidiary of Prince George Electric Cooperative, to complete a fiber-to-the-home project using existing electric infrastructure.
2. Does Dinwiddie still have a broadband project?
YES! Work on the project was halted due to an unexpected issue beyond our control, but rest assured, County leaders continue to work tirelessly toward a solution.
3. What is Dinwiddie County’s role in this project?
While the County was awarded a VATI grant for this project, we serve solely as a conduit for the distribution of funds from DHCD to the designated internet service provider. The scope, budget, and timeline for this project were developed by RuralBand, and approved by DHCD.
4. Why did RuralBand not implement the project as expected?
RuralBand is a subsidiary of Prince George Electric Cooperative and has a great record of success connecting its cooperative members to fiber-to-the-home internet. RuralBand’s original project design was developed using National Electrical Safety Code (NESC) standards regarding ice load for overhead lines. According to the NESC, Dinwiddie County is located in a “medium ice load” zone. A project budget was developed by RuralBand using this NESC standard. In reality, Southside Electric Cooperative’s practice is to exceed the NESC standard and build their system to accommodate a “high ice load”. This difference in scope more than doubled the budget, making the project impossible as originally designed. As soon as the County was made aware of this issue, work began with DHCD and RuralBand to identify the timeliest and most cost-effective solution.
RuralBand has made internet available to all Dinwiddie households within its existing electric footprint and laid conduit for fiber in one other area of the County prior to pausing work on the project.
It is important to note that Dinwiddie County was not responsible for the challenges associated with this project and has, therefore, not paid RuralBand any money to date.
5. Is there hope that broadband come to my area of the County?
Yes! The County has submitted a request to DHCD to reassign VATI funding to two internet service providers in order to more effectively achieve universality. When the project is complete, everyone in Dinwiddie County will have access to affordable, reliable, high-speed, internet.
6. What are the details of reassignment?
We will make this information available when a response to the request for reassignment is received from DHCD.
7. What is the timeline associated with this project?
Following approval by DHCD of the reassignment, participating ISPs will publish their respective timelines for broadband deployment.
8. What is BEAD and will it help our project?
The Broadband Equity Access and Deployment (BEAD) Program provides $42.5 billion to expand high-speed internet access by funding planning, infrastructure deployment, and adoption programs in all 50 states, Washington D.C., Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Marina Islands.
President Biden announced $1.4 billion in BEAD funding will be allocated to Virginia. This funding will be administered through the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD). With BEAD, Internet Service Providers (ISP) apply directly to the state to access these funds, eliminating the need for locality involvement.
9. When/how can I find out more?
Once details are finalized, the County has requested DHCD and our Internet Service Provider(s) host a community meeting to share information. This community meeting will be announced on the Dinwiddie County website and Facebook page. Please stay tuned to the Broadband Updates page, as information will be shared as soon as it becomes available.