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Broadband expansion brings more connections to Botetourt

Published: Sep. 30, 2020 at 5:59 PM EDT
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BOTETOURT COUNTY, Va. (WDBJ) - More connections are coming to Botetourt County as administrators push for broadband expansion.

Miles of wire are moving from the ground to the air as crews install fiber optic cables through different neighborhoods.

It will help folks like Rebecca Potter, who say their connection is spotty at best.

“It’s just, it’s very slow,” Potter said. “Like I can’t even watch Hulu because of my service.”

So, she is excited to see crews from Craig-Botetourt Rural Electric Cooperative working on her street, because projects like this one plan to bring better and faster broadband to the area.

“We have 44 miles of mainline fiber, and out of that 44 miles we have about 6 miles left of that fiber to hang,” CBEC CEO Jeff Ahearn said.

But this project is just one of many across the county.

In total, the county is investing about $3 million of CARES Act and other grant money toward seven broadband expansion projects.

Those projects will be spearheaded by companies like CBEC, the Roanoke Valley Broadband Authority, LUMOS and Blue Ridge Tower.

“We needed this prior to the pandemic, however after the pandemic we really needed this for remote work, remote education, telemedicine and telehealth,” County Administrator Gary Larrowe said.

These various projects will help them connect 1,400 new homes and businesses by the end of the year.

“Being able to actually see the fiber being hung on the poles or buried in the ground,” Larrowe said. “This is a labor of love, it’s a passion to actually get this delivered to the citizens in the community.”

And neighbors like Potter said it helps bring her the best of both worlds.

“I love it out here, so it would be really great to get part of the city life into the country life and make my life a lot easier too,” Potter said.

Many of the projects are breaking ground already and are expected to provide coverage to about 10 percent more of the citizens in the county by 2021.

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