Coal and Tobacco Partner Up to Connect Nickelsville

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Nickelsville, VA is in the southwest portion of the state near the North Carolina border. Residents rated better cell service as one of their top concerns. They’re on the verge of receiving a new cell tower to keep them connected, reports the Kingsport-Times News. The project was first proposed in 2009, and will finally come to fruition in early 2021.

Mayor Danny Dixon said the new cell tower “will help a lot of people who drive through here on a daily basis.” He added that Nickelsville currently boasts two types of coverage “slim and none.”

The tower’s funding will be provided through a partnership between the Virginia Tobacco Commission, the Virginia Coalfield Coalition and LENOWISCO Planning District Commission. LENOWISCO Executive Director Duane Miller said Contractor Advanced Wireless Services will handle the construction, which is expected to be completed this September.  

Verizon is the tower’s first planned tenant, subject to regulatory and environmental permits. Participants were quick to praise each other’s contributions and willingness to work together to get the cell tower built. The Scott County Telephone Cooperative, and CEO Bill Franklin were cited for their leadership by Virginia Coalfields Coalition Chairman Joe Fawbush. In turn, Franklin noted that by partnering with the VCCC, the SCTC grew their cell tower sites from 16 in 2011, to 64 and counting today.

 “We know that this and broadband are not just tools of convenience,” said Virginia Senator Todd Pillion. “They are more and more essential to everyday life.” Delegate, and chairman of the tobacco commission, Terry Kilgore agreed, stating “I don’t know how many calls I’ve received about Nickelsville’s cell tower. “It’s going to provide access, and access is important with COVID-19 for businesses and for students.” 

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