Botetourt County's efforts to expand broadband moves forward

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BOTETOURT, Va. (WDBJ7) Botetourt County has seen significant growth. With the growth of the county comes closer attention to the weak links in infrastructure, one being broadband service. County officials are moving forward with efforts to expand broadband service.

Several rural communities across the region are finding ways to get high-speed internet service to everyone. "Economic development has to have this," said Gary Larrowe, Botetourt County Board of Supervisors, "the community has to have this and for the solid utility of the current times. It's almost equated to like having electricity."

County officials held a broadband summit last year and enlisted the help of IT expert Sandie Terry. Her report found about 30 percent of Botetourt County residents and 400 businesses have no access to fixed broadband "We have basically divided the county into five phases," said Terry. "It's demand-driven meaning, to the greatest demand first, and demand being addressed location that needs serving."

Even with the information, they have now, in order to move forward with proposals from companies or funding they still need people to weigh in.
This is the survey that is available on the Botetourt board of supervisors website. "What we are looking for is people that aren't showing up in an unserved area in the report," said Terry. "Since it is an interactive map they can put in their address and find their location. If they know they don' have service or adequate service and they're not one of the planned areas they need to make sure their voice is heard."

County leaders are champions of this effort, looking to respond quickly to the needs of the people. "We are getting real-time data," said Larrowe. "that we acting upon, that is not something that is common in the development or the expansion of broadband."