Broadband is Coming to Rappahannock County

Vision – A rural community where everyone has access to next-generation broadband.

Mission – Bringing affordable Broadband Service to our county one connection at a time while enhancing overall quality of life and serving community needs in accord with our scenic, rural nature.

Objective – Reducing capital/start-up costs and ongoing operating expenses for private sector providers to provide a choice of next-generation broadband access in unserved and underserved areas of our rural community.

Who We Are

Rappahannock County Broadband Authority (RCBA)

The Rappahannock County Broadband Authority has partnered with All Points Broadband and the Rappahannock Electric Cooperative to bring fiber-optic service to every “unserved” household in Rappahannock County.

The RCBA consists of five members.  It was created in order to have a legal entity that was capable of entering into contracts and financial transactions to further the development of broadband accessibility in the County.

We need your help!

Register your interest today

ANYONE can register!  While most locations in the county have no wired broadband service, we would like to hear from everyone.  The survey will guide you to enter information on whether you are currently served or not.

The process is especially important for those who are unserved but who after entering their address on the website receive the message “You are outside of a service area. We cannot provide services for you at this time.” If that happens to you, please confirm your household interest, by entering your contact information on the APB website and including detailed comments regarding your current access to cable internet including whether you have sought a connection to cable internet in the past but were told you were too far away or were presented with an expensive special construction charge.

The registration process is measuring interest only – there is no cost and no commitment by taking this action.

Project Agreements Signed

The Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development and the Northern Shenandoah Valley Regional Commission (NSVRC) executed the final required agreement to formally kick-off the All Points Broadband (APB) fiber to the home project. The agreement was signed on July 22, 2022 starting the three-year agreement period, which is now set to conclude in July 2025. This follows the execution of an agreement between NSVRC and APB as well as the fiscal agent agreement between NSVRC and the eight counties.

See the time line below for the path forward.

Preliminary map of locations in Rappahannock County that have been identified as eligible for project funding. Source: All Points Broadband.

Project Timeline

2020
December

Rappahannock County Broadband Authority is Formed

The Rappahannock County Broadband Authority consists of five members.  It was created to have a legal entity capable of entering into contracts and agreements on behalf of Rappahannock County.  The RCBA carries forward the work that was previously done by the Rappahannock County Broadband Committee.

2021
June

Seven Counties Enter into MOU with All Points Broadband

In August, Fauquier County joined the now eight-county project.

September

REGIONAL VATI GRANT APPLICATION SUBMITTED

Eight localities joined together with the Northern Shenandoah Valley Regional Commission and All Points Broadband to submit a VATI grant application on September 14, 2021.  The localites are Augusta, Rockingham, Page, Warren, Rappahannock, Fauquier, Clark, and Frederick Counties.

October

Challenge / Rebuttal Period Begins

Applications for the grant will contain service areas where households are underserved for broadband access.  Local incumbent providers are given a chance to challenge certain areas in an application if they provide service in these areas.

Applicants will then be given a chance for rebuttal over the challenges.  A final determination will then be made for funding eligibility in the disputed locations.

November

Challenge / Rebuttal Period Ends

November 18, 2021 is the deadline for rebuttal submissions.

December

Challenge Determination Made

All parties will be notified of the challenge determinations in December, 2021.

December

Funding Awards Announcement

On December 13, 2021 Governor Northam announced an award of $95.3 million to the NSVRC, which award includes funding for the Rappahannock County portion of the regional project.

View the Governor’s release: https://www.governor.virginia.gov/newsroom/all-releases/2021/december/headline-916304-en.html

2022
April

Shentel Challenge Resolved

In early April 2022 the four counties within which Shentel issued a challenge (Fauquier, Frederick, Rappahannock, and Rockingham) jointly signed a declaration of support for Shentel’s petition of waiver regarding their RDOF obligations. In exchange for this support, the Virginia DHCD agreed to increase VATI funding to cover the “RDOF areas” as part of the VATI grant project.

July

Final Agreements Executed for the Regional Project

On July 22, 2022 the agreement between the Virginia DHCD and NSVRC was executed starting the three-year project period. This follows the execution of an agreement between NSVRC and APB as well as the Fiscal Agent Agreement between NSVRC and the eight counties.

November

Low Level Design and Utility “Make Ready” Work

The first phase of the project will be focused on Low Level Design and the pole attachment make-ready process. Several months’ worth of designed and permitted fiber miles will need to be released from Low Level Design prior to fiber construction commencing.

2023
April

Fiber Construction Begins

Fiber construction is expected to begin in Q2 2023 and will continue until the end of July, 2025. Rappahannock County will be divided in to several fiber development areas and final connections to homes will occur on a rolling basis as fiber installation progresses through the county. The fiber development areas and order of construction will be developed during low level design.

2025
July

Agreement Period Ends

Based on the execution date of the DHCD – NSVRC agreement all work is scheduled to be complete by July 2025.