The project is “pioneering a new model for bringing fiber-optic broadband to communities that have been passed over,” Carr said earlier this year, referring to the number of partners that have joined the effort.
In addition to the utility and internet companies, officials from King George, Westmoreland, Northumberland and Richmond counties as well as the Northern Neck Planning District Commission have been involved.
The project has received about $20 million in state and federal grants and each of the four primary counties has committed $650,000. King George offered up a larger chunk—$500,000—last year so it would be first in line to get the high-speed service.
King George has 1,800 of 7,500 homes and businesses identified in the Northern Neck as lacking reliable and fast internet. A map of King George has blue dots identifying the internet deserts. They range from the border with Stafford County all the way to Westmoreland, throughout the rural Shiloh District and in pockets east of Ninde and near Alden.
In Westmoreland, County Administrator Norm Risavi said in January he’d already heard from residents excited about the project. Like King George, Westmoreland has tried other initiatives that didn’t pan out, and “we feel this offers the best opportunity to be able to reach out to these folks who are in sort of no man’s land, who are not receiving any kind of service other than a satellite,” he said.