The Amherst County Broadband Authority voted unanimously last week to send a proposed agreement with AcelaNet LLC to a public hearing. The proposal’s objective is to provide wireless broadband internet access to unserved and underserved rural areas of the county, reported the Amherst New Era-Progress.
Under the agreement, the company, also known as SCS Broadband, would co-locate its equipment on five public safety towers to improve broadband coverage to schools, businesses and residential areas in Amherst County. Additionally, SCS Broadband would not be charged for using the towers. “We’re asking them to provide a service that no other entities are proposing. We’re helping create a path for a company, a wireless internet service provider, to do business and to provide service in the rural portions of our county,” said Jeremy Bryant, director of community development.
According to Bryant, if the county approves the agreement in September, SCS Broadband could locate on the first tower by November 4, 2018, followed by installations in January, March, May, and July of 2019. If a delay in the project arises, the authority has the ability to penalize SCS Broadband $200 a day, unless there are unforeseen circumstances, according to the agreement.
County Administrator Dean Rodgers said the deployment schedule is spread out that way so SCS Broadband can avoid those potential liquidated damages. “We want to have some way to hold their feet to the fire and give them an incentive to perform on a schedule…they’re going to be trying to move a lot faster,” Rodgers said.
“Rural areas are at a grave disadvantage,” said Bryant. Of the new agreement, he noted, “We certainly think it’s going to make a huge difference for our citizens.”
July 5, 2018