County effort on broadband a long process
Posted: November 30, 2012
The Winchester Star
WINCHESTER — The effort to improve broadband Internet service in Frederick County will continue over the next year — and longer — as the county begins working to reach milestones outlined in a state planning grant.
Members of the county’s broadband management team met with representatives of the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) — which issued the grant — Thursday afternoon.
The $25,000 grant, along with $9,000 provided by the county, will be used to hire a consultant and meet several planning goals before Frederick moves toward implementation of any actions to improve broadband capability.
According to Walter Banks, Frederick County’s information technology director, improving broadband service can enhance many aspects of a community — from increased economic development and education opportunities to more efficient medical facilities.
Some milestones outlined in the planning portion of the process include developing the preliminary design of a broadband network, coming up with a cost estimate, providing a presentation of possible organizational or ownership structures for the network and finding funding for future implementation of projects, according to a project management plan provided by Joanne Peerman of the DHCD.
Frederick County has been conducting broadband tests since last year on the connection speeds in different areas around the county, the results of which will be used in the planning phase, Banks said.
During the meeting, Banks said the next step for the county will be to select a consulting firm and work with that group to reach the milestones outlined by the DHCD over the next year.
“The idea is that we award the bid for a consultant, the consultant comes in and either affirms [the data we have] or asks us to drill down, get more information, supply more data about the different [county] regions, takes a look at the available technologies that are out there [and] makes a recommendation,” Banks said. “Based on their recommendation, we develop (a request for proposlas) to go out for general consumption.
“At that point, we would hope that multiple [Internet] suppliers would be interested in partnering with the county, or the county facilitating ... [Internet service providers] getting involved with the general area.”
Additional information on the county’s broadband efforts is available online at www.co.frederick.va.us/broadband_new.aspx.
— Contact Matt Armstrong at email@example.com