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Bedford County leaders cut ribbon on new broadband tower during crucial time for internet service

16 months ago, leaders broke ground on the first in a series of new broadband towers in the county.
Published: Aug. 12, 2020 at 5:12 PM EDT
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BEDFORD COUNTY, Va. (WDBJ) - Leaders cut the ribbon on a newly-completed broadband tower in Bedford County Wednesday.

Leaders say the completion of the project is timely.

With school starting in seven days, many students are set to hop on buses and hit the classrooms.

But some families are opting to do remote learning in the age of coronavirus.

Sixteen months ago, leaders broke ground on the first in a series of new broadband towers in the county. “Connectivity, with COVID-19, you cannot bank, you cannot work and you cannot go to school, for a majority of America, without internet access,” explained Anthony Smith, the owner and founder of Blue Ridge Towers and CEO of BriscNet.

The two companies, in partnership with the county, have nearly completed Phase I in a two-phase project.

Leaders say it will connect about 90 percent of the roughly 16,000 underserved and/or unserved households in the county. “This is a great start right here,” added Edgar Tuck, the District II representative for the Board of Supervisor members.

Leaders say the new connection comes at a crucial time, with in-person and hybrid classes set to begin August 19. Mac Duis, Bedford County Public Schools COO says, “So many opportunities are available when there is high quality, high-speed internet.”

Duis says of the roughly 9,300 students in the district, more than 2,000 are signed up for 100 percent remote learning.

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