Frederick to expand Internet test offerings

Posted: February 26, 2013

The Winchester Star

WINCHESTER — The Frederick County Information Technology office soon will have displays from multiple Internet providers available for the public to test.

The displays are part of the office’s initiative to help residents — who live in rural parts of the county and who are either underserved or unserved by Internet providers — find better alternatives to meet their Internet needs.

The county’s IT office currently has an iPad connected to the Internet via satellite for residents to test on display in its office. The iPad and Internet connection are both provided by Manassas-based NOVEC Energy Solutions Inc. and its Internet-providing subsidiary, NOVECnet.

Winchester-based Internet providers Visual Link Internet LC and Wave2Net both should have a display set up alongside the NOVECnet device in the near future, according to Alisa Scott in the county’s IT office.

Verizon also is interested in setting up a demonstration for its residential HomeFusion Broadband service, she added.

HomeFusion uses Verizon’s 4G LTE network to bring high-speed Internet service to customers with limited broadband options, according to Verizon.

According to Frederick County IT director Walter Banks, four primary areas in the county — Gore, Shawneeland, Star Tannery and Mountain Falls — are underserved by Internet providers.

Citizen participation in the test program hasn’t been widespread, however, with only a handful of residents coming into the office every few days, according to Scott.

Those who have come in though said they plan to contact NOVECnet about what it can offer and that they are eager to come back and test other providers once there are more displays, she said on Monday.

Some county residents have contacted NOVECnet to express interest in the Internet provider’s product, according to Chris Hild, director of operations for NOVEC Energy Solutions Inc.

“[W]e have had some interest, but not nearly what we had hoped,” Hild wrote in an email Monday.

The displays will be in the office for an indefinite period of time, Scott said.

The IT office is located on the first floor of the Frederick County Administration Building at 107 N. Kent St. The office is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and can be reached by calling 540-665-5614.

— Contact Matt Armstrong at marmstrong@winchesterstar.com