Loudoun Wins $17.5M for Western Broadband

Loudoun County has won a $17.5 million state grant to support its $72 million effort extend fiber optic internet connections to western Loudoun, opening the way to a bringing broadband internet to more than 8,600 homes and businesses.

The funding, from the Virginia Telecommunications Initiative, supports a public-private partnership with All Points Broadband and that company’s partners among electricity providers. Construction is expected to begin in the summer of 2022 and take 24-30 months to reach all addresses in the project area.

“Loudoun County is extremely excited about the grant and working with our partners to bring expanded broadband coverage to western Loudoun,” stated Loudoun Director of Information Technology John Bayliss. “This initiative is the single biggest broadband expansion project that the county and Board of Supervisors have undertaken, and we are very optimistic that our community will greatly benefit from this opportunity.”

The state grants are part of an ongoing effort by Governor Ralph Northam to achieve universal access to broadband in Virginia within 10 years of his inauguration in 2018. Since then, the state has put more than $846 million into efforts to connect more than 429,000 homes, businesses, and other addresses, and Northam said the state is now ahead of schedule, on track to achieve that goal by 2024.

The grants announced on Dec. 13, including Loudoun’s, added another $722 million to that effort across 70 localities.

“Broadband access impacts every facet of our daily lives, from education to business to health care,” Northam stated. “It’s a necessity for navigating today’s digital world, and this new funding will close Virginia’s digital divide with universal broadband by 2024.”

Local and state elected officials in the area hailed the announcement.

“The VATI grant and Loudoun’s partnership with All Points Broadband, Dominion, and NOVEC is an absolute game changer for Western Loudoun County residents who have suffered without adequate broadband connectivity for too long,” stated Loudoun County Supervisor Caleb E. Kershner (R-Catoctin). He said the COVID-19 pandemic illustrated how dire the digital divide in western Loudoun had become, and in September 2020 asked fellow supervisors to accelerate the county’s existing plans to expand broadband, which they approved.

Del. Dave A. LaRock (R-33) celebrated both the Loudoun news and an even larger $95.3 million grant to the Northern Virginia Valley Regional Commission, also partnering with All Points, bringing state grants to every part of the 33rd District.

“I know it’s been a very long and painful process to bring broadband service to all my constituents in Loudoun, Clarke and Frederick Counties. Over the last 8+ years, I’ve heard from so many constituents about the way lack of reliable internet service has hindered their ability to work, learn and enjoy life in the rural parts of the district I serve,” LaRock stated.

All Points Broadband will work with a model it has proven in other localities, partnering with electric utilities to run fiber optic cable along the routes of power lines.

According to the $17.75 million application filed with the state, the Loudoun project would put in place 663 miles of fiber to around 240 square miles of the county. That is expected to reach more than 8,000 homes along with rural businesses like bed-and-breakfasts, Great County Farms, Bluemont Vineyard, Dirt Farm Brewing, Homestead 1870 Farm Market, the Stone Manor Boutique Inn, Catoctin Apiary, Georges Mill Farm Bed & Breakfast and Farm Artisan Cheese, among many others. It would also connect Bluemont Community Center, the Philomont Community Center, and the Between the Hills Community Center.

The state’s funding will go toward the projected $72 million cost of that work. It will also add to the $12.4 million of American Rescue Plan Act funding the Board of Supervisors put toward the project in July.

All Points plans to charge a $199 installation cost to each new customer. Thanks to grant requirements by the Department of Housing and Community Development, All Points Broadband will not charge extra for long service drops for the first year after it begins offering service in a neighborhood. Customers will still be able to request that the fiber be buried underground, rather than following aerial power lines; in that case, they would be charged for time and materials plus 10%. They expect to charge a monthly fee of $79.99 for 100 Mbps upload and download speed.

Residents and businesses can check whether their address is included and express interest at fiber.allpointsbroadband.com. More details about the project are online at loudoun.gov/broadbandexpansion.

5 thoughts on “Loudoun Wins $17.5M for Western Broadband

  • 2021-12-14 at 4:53 pm

    Taxpayer being hit for $7093.00 dollars per address this should be a special tax district now a taxpayer giveaway, Caleb. What did these people do to earn this largesse from the government, nothing? Buying votes with taxpayer dollars nice work if you can get it Caleb and tony. See the difference between them and democrats, nope me either.

    • 2021-12-14 at 7:22 pm

      You’re exactly right. This is just abuse of power and acting as if internet connectivity is a basic human right and once again, the taxpayer gets the bill. People who bought their homes in areas that are not near a provider’s network are to blame, not the state or local government.

    • 2022-01-28 at 5:19 pm

      In Broad Run Farms we were hit with a $7500.00 fee for grinder pumps. “Developers of Loudoun Water approved grinder systems will be assessed an availability charge and an additional fee of $7,500 per connection to address.” Yet Caleb, Tony and Matt did not bother to entertain such thoughts when they found they could buy their voters like working girls.

  • 2021-12-15 at 4:49 pm

    So if you can’t tap into fiber optic because it’s not available why should taxpayers pay for access. Pay for your own access DTV, Starlink, etc.

  • 2021-12-17 at 7:49 am

    Statewide this is a 3.3-billion-dollar expense born by taxpayers. We have so called conservatives in western Loudoun that might be social conservatives, but they show they are willing to spend big bucks to accommodate their voting base.

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