The Eastern Shore of Virginia Broadband Authority (ESVBA) board of directors has decided to expand Fiber-to-the-Home (FTTH) service to 14 more areas in the region.
Speedy Expansion On The Shore
In the next six months, residents of Accomack and Northampton counties should have access to high-speed Internet. The ESVBA regional open access middle mile network already provides FTTH to three areas, but decided to expand, concluding the current budget would support additional deployment.
Areas specifically identified for expansion include Sanford, Accomac, Greenbackville, Atlantic, Wattsville/Horntown, Hallwood/Nelsonia, Oak Hall/New Church and Quinby. In a meeting planned for Dec 13th, the board will discuss which areas to prioritize, with the idea of moving into two new areas each month.
A Continuing Success
ESVBA was created in 2008 through the efforts of Accomack and Northampton counties. NASA helped fund the build-out of the regional network’s backbone. They have a flight facility on Wallops Island that employs over a thousand Virginians. Government agencies, local schools, and healthcare institutions on the shore needed reliable connectivity for daily operations. Apart from NASA, the Navy and the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration connect to the network, along with schools and medical facilities, making it an indispensable community resource.
Several different telecommunications companies on the Eastern shore utilize the open access network in a variety of ways, including the ISPs Windstream Communications and the local Eastern Shore Communications LLC.
Residential FTTH service is currently underway in Harborton, the Bobtown/Pungoteague/Painter area, and Church Neck where customer sign-on is gradually increasing.
The Eastern Shore region is currently assessing whether surveys should be conducted before deciding which areas to begin deploying FTTH service. The board is also discussing marketing tactics for advertising the new service. In regards to their advertising efforts, Executive Director of the ESVBA board, Robert Bridgham said, "We could certainly ramp up the take rates if we went further with that."
Bridgham also noted the success with users at the eleven free-access WiFi hotspots on the Shore.
So we certainly have people using these hotspots for many reasons... I think these continue to be good for the Shore.
Wireless coverage has greatly expanded on the shore, with towns like Bloxom benefitting from new towers providing Wi-Fi and better mobile service. Local rural communities with little or no choice for mobile and fixed wireless providers are obtaining better rates and improved services now because the presence of the towers offers competitive providers the opportunity to serve the region.