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How taking “The Village Approach” Lights Up A Nelson County Neighborhood

BRI & The NCBA team up to make
high-speed Internet more affordable

In 2010 The Nelson County Broadband Authority won a grant to build a high-speed, fiber-optic Internet network in Nelson County. This grant was for a large backbone network, often called a �Middle Mile�.� The benefit of this type of grant is that it is able to fund the installation of the longest linear footage thereby potentially making the fiber accessible to the greatest number of end users.� The drawback is that the �last mile� or the connection from the backbone to the end user remains the financial obligation of the property owner.� Unfortunately, this can sometimes be quite expensive. Understanding this to be the case, the NCBA set in place a discount structure as well as an interest free monthly amortization option. Additionally, the Nelson County Broadband Authority (NCBA) together with the Internet Service Provider (ISP), Blue Ridge InternetWorks, created the �Village Approach.� The first area where they applied this method was Paul�s Creek. The Village Approach splits the build out cost among all the homes. It�s a simple way to finance and spread the expense across a neighborhood so that a group of homeowners all get high-speed fiber and share the price of laying fiber to the home.

This Village Approach of sharing build out fees is
how homeowners in the Paul�s Creek neighborhood
received high-speed Internet in their living rooms.

�The build out cost to reach one home from the backbone is often costly,� says Baylor Fooks, founder of Blue Ridge InternetWorks. �But if neighbors work together the expense to get from the backbone and then from door to door can be shared.� Everything is more efficient when working on 20 homes as opposed to one.� The Paul�s Creek homeowners are thrilled, especially Janet Lychock. �I�ve been online almost constantly whenever I am home and have had 20 webpages up at a time while doing research and can still watch any video I want without interruption,� says Janet. I�ve also run sporadic speed tests with multiple long-dwelling websites up and I consistently test right at 25/5 and have even exceeded it several times! I�must say that despite the long wait this is well worth it! � BRI is looking forward to using the Village Approach again in Nelson County. Carrie Slaughter spearheads the effort. �The Village Model works,� says Carrie.� �BRI is currently searching for neighborhoods and HOAs that are ready to organize.� Together we will bring broadband to Nelson County.�

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