All Points Favored in Plans to Bring Broadband West

All Points Broadband appears the current favorite choice for a partnership with the county government that could bring broadband internet to broad swaths of western Loudoun with the help of state grant funding.

Supervisors in this term have made extending broadband to western Loudoun a priority, dedicating money to building out a fiber optic network to county-owned facilities in the west that can act as a backbone to extend that connectivity to homes and businesses. That work is itself built off the Loudoun County Public Schools’ work to extend fiber optic cable to its western Loudoun facilities. All of that is meant to offer an easier solution to the “last mile” problem of internet access, referring to the relative cost to internet service providers to link up to those far-flung homes, versus how much those companies can expect to make back from relatively few customers.

The state also offers some help to get those people connected, with Virginia Telecommunication Initiative, or VATI grants, and Loudoun County staff is considering proposals from several companies to partner for a grant application. The favorite is one from All Points Broadband, building on the company’s success both with previous VATI applications. The company also is proposing partnering with Dominion Energy to extend fiber optic cable along power line routes—something All Points already has experience doing with Northern Virginia Electric Cooperative.

“Staff really looked at, first and foremost, which opportunity provides us the greatest chance of success for an actionable project with VATI,” said Assistant County Administrator Erin McLellan. “The goal here is to be able to win a VATI award so that a project can be partially offset, and provide a solution to the broadband question.”

All Points, she said, seems to offer the best chance for winning that grant. The company’s proposal is also favored by the county’s Communications Commission.

The proposal would extend broadband service to around 240 square miles of the county, reaching approximately 8,200 locations and building off the county’s fiber network.

Supervisor Tony R. Buffington (R-Blue Ridge) said that would address the vast majority of underserved and unserved homes in western Loudoun.

Still, the county will not formally select a partner for the VATI grant application until next month. Grant applications will open in June, with decisions expected in December.

“I want to be careful because I don’t want to make it sound like it’s going to be All Points,” said County Chair Phyllis J. Randall (D-At Large).

County staff members are also looking into other potential sources of funding for expanding broadband, including from the American Rescue Plan Act, U.S. Department of Agriculture loans and grants, and other state and federal funding.

10 thoughts on “All Points Favored in Plans to Bring Broadband West

  • 2021-05-07 at 6:44 pm
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    Why throw all this money around now, when in a few months Starlink will be available at a reasonable price?

    • 2021-05-08 at 3:30 pm
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      Fiber will (probably) be at or below the cost, including upfront for hardware and will not be affected by rain, hail, or trees.

    • 2021-05-14 at 2:37 pm
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      Because Starlink is in Beta and has not been proven to be reliable with frequent outages. It also requires line of site. Since the satellites are not stationary that means line of site changes. Trees, poles, chimneys, etc. are all causing problems for users including outages. I am excited to have Starlink as an option, but not the only option. Competition is good.

  • 2021-05-07 at 7:28 pm
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    Fantastic!

    With All Points you get unreliability AND overpriced plans.

    What a perfect combination.

    • 2021-05-08 at 3:31 pm
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      Allpoints wireless and fiber will be night and day different for some. Others have no issue with allpoints wireless, depending on location. (I’m not affiliated with them but I’m very excited at the prospect of fiber to my home).

  • 2021-05-08 at 4:57 pm
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    Reading the proposal, Allpoints promises to wire all currently unserved homes and provide excellent speeds for $79/month. Less than they currently charge for wireless service providing a fraction of the planned speed. This might finally solve western Loudoun’s broadband problem. 2+ years away. Still has to win a VATI grant. Incumbents and other proposers may throw up legal challenges. We’ll see….

    In the meantime, Starlink may provide interim relief, in that becomes available.

  • 2021-05-11 at 9:39 am
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    This is a complete waste of Loudoun taxpayer dollars. Starlink is going to be in operation globally, long before this boondoggle bears fruit. Anyone that wants it can sign up now and start using it by mid-summer in Loudoun. These dollars would be much better spent by subsidizing terminal purchases for rural low-income Starlink users than building out this antiquated terrestrial infrastructure that is obsolete before it ever hits the ground.

    • 2021-05-14 at 2:38 pm
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      You want to put all your eggs in Elon Musk’s basket? Go for it. I for one want options. Competition is a good thing and only benefits the consumer. Starlink has proven unreliable and it is at the mercy of governments to remain operational.

  • 2021-05-12 at 11:15 am
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    By any chance ,has APB been donating money to certain member of the BoS?

    Inquiring minds want to know…

    • 2021-05-21 at 5:31 pm
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      If you’ve got proof or evidence, let’s hear it. Otherwise, you’re just a troll.

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