Central Virginia Electric Cooperative (CVEC) and Firefly Fiber BroadbandSM received $28,000,000 in funds from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Reconnect Program. The announcement was made Friday morning by USDA Virginia State Director, Beth Green, to a group of 200 guests comprised of county officials, local and elected officials, directors, supervisors, business partners, and CVEC members and employees. CVEC and Firefly President and CEO Gary Wood remarked, “We have great partners and the folks who have spoken today at the local, state and federal level have contributed to make this announcement and grant possible. We need the partners and appreciate all they have done to help the members of CVEC.”
CVEC and Firefly applied for the 50% grant/50% loan and will use the funds to build fiber to 11 of its 30 substations. The Curdsville substation in Buckingham will be the first stop for building fiber using grants funds, followed by Cartersville, Stonewall and Kidd’s Store. Dr. Brian Bates, CVEC Director, shared, “CVEC is here to help… Eighty-three years ago, a group of local leaders got together to address a problem. The big utilities were not interested in expending the resources to put electricity in our communities. Folks banded together to form CVEC and they solved that problem. Access to high speed internet is the great economic and educational and quality of life imperative in the 21st century. The leadership of CVEC recognized this, and just like they did 83 years ago, pulled together and stepped up to the plate to provide permanent and high-speed solution for all of our members.”
CVEC has committed to a $120 million plan to install over 4,500 miles of fiber-optic cable in the 14 counties it serves, providing broadband internet to all of its 37,000 members. The fiber network will use laser beams and glass fibers to move data at speeds of up to one gigabit per second, delivering world-class communications to members served in their electric territory.
The fiber-optic network will be installed on and adjacent to existing overhead and underground electric distribution lines, utilizing the existing infrastructure. The joint grant application and award is based on CVEC installing and owning the fiber-optic cable, and its wholly owned subsidiary Firefly Fiber BroadbandSM using the fiber to offer retail internet and phone services. Firefly subscribers will be able to purchase high-speed internet of 100 megabits per second at $49.99 per month or 1 gigabit per second for $79.99 per month. More information on pricing and internet packages can be found at www.fireflyva.com.