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Augusta County awarded broadband grant for Swoope, New Hope fiber projects

Augusta CountyAugusta County has been awarded a $567,063 grant for broadband funding from the Commonwealth of Virginia for the Swoope Tower Fixed Wireless and New Hope Telephone Cooperative fiber projects.

Both projects will increase broadband connectivity to improve distance learning, telework, and telehealth capabilities in response to COVID-19 for underserved areas identified in Augusta County’s 2016 Broadband Telecommunications Strategic Plan.

High speed internet will be available for those who subscribe or purchase the service.

“We are extremely grateful for this grant which will jumpstart two important projects for underserved areas,” said Pam Carter, Board of Supervisors vice-chair and member of the Augusta County Broadband Committee. “We are extremely fortunate to have robust relationships in place with two providers who have already demonstrated their interest to go the ‘last mile’ for our most remote residents.”

New Hope Telephone Cooperative Fiber Project

The New Hope project includes the second phase of an upgrade for a fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) network that was completed in the cooperative’s service area in the northeast part of the county  in July 2019. The grant will be used to purchase and construct fiber optic cable and equipment for an underground fiber-to-the-home, outside plant network that will replace the current infrastructure that is over 35 years old and discontinued by the manufacturer.

The planned FTTH project will provide high speed and reliable Internet and telephone access for 36 households, including six home-based businesses, and will allow residents to work from home, access online education, and perform online medical appointments.

The New Hope project total is $440,166 of which 80 percent ($352,132) will be CARES Act funded.

Augusta County and New Hope Telephone Cooperative will both contribute 10 percent of the total cost – or $44,016 each.

Swoope Tower Fixed Wireless Project

The county is partnering with Lingo Networks to provide last-mile broadband connection and middle-mile infrastructure for a remote and rural area of the county that has historically been very difficult to provide adequate service for both topographic and financial reasons. Fixed wireless technology, providing broadband service from the 488 ft tower in Swoope, and FTTH connections will provide service for 310 residents, students, teleworkers, and businesses and farms.

The total cost for the Swoope Tower project is $268,661 of which 80 percent (or $214,929) will be CARES Act funded.

Augusta County and Lingo Networks will each contribute 10 percent of the total cost – or $26,866 each.

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