Broadband findings could soon be put to use in Frederick

Posted: November 2, 2013

The Winchester Star

WINCHESTER — Frederick County’s broadband study will — more or less — comes to a conclusion this month.

More than 2,200 residents participated in the survey — which county officials conducted this year — and the Herndon-based Center for Innovative Technology (CIT) has completed its review of the results.

Sandie Terry, broadband program manager with the CIT, will present recommendations, at a meeting this month, that can be used to increase affordable broadband Internet access for rural areas in the the county, according to Patrick Fly, the locality’s geographic information systems (GIS) manager.

CIT used data supplied by local Internet service providers, the state government, Frederick County GIS, Virginia Tech GIS and the survey responses to develop its recommendations, according to Fly.

“[Terry] will be presenting the findings of the survey, we will go over what the study found for us and CIT’s recommendations for the county and ways we may be able to encourage broadband growth in the county,” Fly said. “We’ll explain the next steps. We hope to be able to outline where things will be going if the county moves forward.”

While county leaders held a public meeting regarding the broadband study in late June, the difference between then and now is that the study is complete, Fly added.

After the November meeting, the study’s results will be presented to the county’s Broadband Management Team, which will recommend actions outlined in the CIT’s recommendations that could be taken to the county Board of Supervisors.

The board must then decide how county resources could be used to help increase broadband access for residents, Fly said.

The survey — in conjunction with one conducted in 2012 in which about 300 residents participated — found that the most under-served areas of the county are west of Interstate 81, particularly toward Star Tannery and Shawneeland, and the regions northwest of Winchester and Stephens City.

Comcast is the primary provider in the county — responsible for about 50 percent of service — and is mainly found in urban areas.

Verizon is next, serving about 12 percent of the market, according to the survey.

The Broadband Study meeting will be held at 7 p.m. on Nov. 14 at the Board of Supervisors meeting room in the Frederick County Administration Building at 107 N. Kent St.

— Contact Matt Armstrong at marmstrong@winchesterstar.com