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AFTON / FABER : Progress Continues on Internet BPL From CVEC & IBEC : Update

[ 6 ] August 1, 2008 |

REFRESH Nelson County Life Magazine HERE

By Tommy Stafford
Nelson County Life Magazine ©2008
Afton, Virginia

The Martins Store Substation at The Intersection of Route 151 & 6

Updated: 8.1.08 4:40 PM Eastern
NCL received an update today from Greg Kelly, Member Services & Business Development Director with CVEC’s Nelson headquarters regarding the progress of BPL “deployment” in Nelson County out of the Martins Store Substation. Over the past several days, NCL has noticed several crews with IBEC and others trenching what appears to be cables to the site which look to connect the system to the telephone network backbone for internet.

Greg tells us:

“You are correct in that the trenching is for the connections from the Internet to the central BPL equipment and the connections to the three electric circuits that take off from the Martins Store substation. These circuits distribute electric energy north along Route 151, South along Route 151 and southeast along Route 6 to Woods Mill and beyond…..

Once the preliminary work at the substation is complete, installation crews will follow the electric circuits out from the substation, installing BPL equipment as they go. This equipment will be hung about every 2/3 mile along the distribution lines and next to each customer’s electric transformer (either pole top or pad mount). BPL will become available to different customers on different days and will depend on two factors, the distance from the substation and to the customer’s home and how many customers have enrolled for BPL along the way from the substation. An IBEC service representative will contact each BPL customer when service has been made available at their home to guide them through the BPL modem activation process.

There has been robust enrollment over the past four weeks. IBEC has updated their deployment maps and is focused on getting underway. Once the field deployment has begun, it will be easy to track the progress of the installation crews as the proceed along the circuits.”

Greg’s been excellent about keeping us updated and with making sure we provide as accurate information as possible. We are expecting an update next week from IBEC themselves to let us know how they are progressing, so we can let everyone else know.


Original Post from 7.22.08:
July the 28th is a date many folks living in more rural sections of Nelson County have been anxiously waiting for. International Broadband Electric Communications, Inc., (IBEC) in conjunction with Central Virginia Electric Cooperative, (CVEC) will begin the deployment of their broadband over power line , (BPL) internet starting next Monday. That’s the day deployment begins, but it will could take several weeks (depending on installation requests and progress) for everyone to have service according to a customer representative at IBEC. A beta test site has already been under operation in the Colleen area for the past couple of years with service to some customers.

We signed up here at Nelson County Life Magazine last week and have high hopes that BPL is what it has been advertised. Many small businesses like ours, telecommuters, etc. outside of areas like Wintergreen, Lovingston, and Stoney Creek have few broadband options and none of them are very reliable nor inexpensive. Those areas are currently served with high speed options like cable modems or DSL service, not available very far from those locations. In remote areas about the only option is dial up, a slow choice, or satellite internet, an expensive choice in comparison to others, and many times not reliable or at speeds the companies advertise.

“The importance of the Internet for rural education, employment and health care cannot be overstated and is underscored by the fact that the Internet has only be in use by the average person for less than 15 years,” says Greg Kelly, Member Services & Business Development Director with CVEC’s Nelson headquarters.

As we have been telling you over the past year, and here too, an aggressive building of cell and internet services is underway by several different carriers. Within the past several weeks, approval has been granted to both Verizon Wireless and Ntelos Wireless for several of their low profile monopole designs that will provide cellular and data services to many under served areas of Nelson. AT & T Wireless already located a site just behind The Wintergreen Fire Department in December of last year.

A wider view of the Martins Store Substation where the next phase of BPL will begin next week.

According to information posted on the IBEC website as you signup:

“The process begins at Martins Store Substation where installation crews connect the internet to the BPL system at the head-end of three electric circuits. One circuit travels along Route 151 south. Another circuit travels along Route 151 north. The third circuit follows Route 6 to Route 29 at Woods Mill, then splits to follow Route 29 north and south. One of these circuits deliveries energy to your home or business.

Installation crews will follow each circuit, attaching BPL equipment about every 1/2 mile along the circuits and at the premises of the customers who have pre enrolled for BPL service. The BPL equipment controls the radio frequency signal that carries the BPL data from the substation to your home or business. One crew should be able to cover about 5 miles per day and the crew will work each line section until deployment is complete.”

We will continue to follow the progress here on our site and encourage folks to post their experiences with BPL here as installation progresses. This holds great promise for may of us who have had no other options until now.

We’ll keep you posted!


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Comments (6)

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  1. T & Y:
    Yes, this long-awaited development is a welcome announcement. Those of us who LOVE to live in Nelson, but must continue to earn our way by staying connected to our business interests elsewhere really need a reliable connection to the internet. Please continue to update all of us with anything you find out.

  2. Nellyfordette says:

    I am enjoying these posts about the new BPL service and I’m very excited about it. And also Tommy has mentioned Verizon, Ntelos and AT & T Wireless beginng to serve Nelson. I’m in the market for a cell phone and I don’t know which carrier to go with. Does anybody have any suggestions or comment that they would like to share?

  3. Rosa Lester says:

    Alltel has the ONLY service worth the money for Nelson County north. I’ve tried them all: Ntelos, Verizon, etc. Their broadband aircards don’t work on Rt. 840/Tanbark Drive area at all. Their cells drop calls. Alltel phones work very well in the entire area.

    For the IBEC rollout I would like to know what kind of backhaul they are going to have. A “T1” is pretty low for more than just a very few customers. The 256kb connection that is promised, going to a T1, is better than dial-up, but it will be interesting to see what actually comes about.

  4. Janet says:

    Verizon Wireless has bought Alltel and once the acqusition is complete at the end of the year and VW takes over Alltel towers, VW voice reception should get better.

    I had a VERY bad experience w/ Alltel’s aircard! I got blocked out for for huge chunks of time – like 17 hours – because of what Alltel told me was a Cellular One tower (which I didnt even know operated in Nelson County.) They said that C1 has strong voice but no data so they couldnt have a data roaming agreeement w/ them and I constantly got the same error sayign that the “username and password wre invalid for the domain”. VERY frustrating. I got out of the contract.

    I didnt have a good experinece w/ Alltel voice either. My phone would go into analog mode regualrly and I coudnt use it. VW has worked better for me already and they have a much better selection of phones.

    Verizon’s aircard also worked better for me PLUS they sell USB cards (in case you want to use it on a desktop as well as your laptop) that have portable antennas so the connectivity is better. An “on the roof” cellular antenna is costly – $400+ …

    I’m in lower Afton, near Nellysford, and I have found that the voice reception & data connectivity one gets from wireless depends very much on where in the county one is and it can be spotty, i.e. differ from road to road, house to house.

    Unless or until some new technology is developed, our cell reception will be not be the best in Nelson because of the mountains – which is why a lot of us live here and a small price to pay for the privilege, IMHO.

    BPL is still half the price and twice as fast as the “extended coverage” service that I got for data from VW & Alltel, since, my house at least – and I beleive most or all of Nelson – is currently not in what these providers consider a “broadband area”. The data serivce that I had was more like “wireless dialup” and cost $60 PLUS I had to drive across the mountain to W’boro everytime there was an update to my VW aircard.

    Since I’m in an area where we can’t get DSL, I’m stoked about BPL. “Grounded” connections will always be more reliable than cellular/satellite ones, given the latter’s inherantly vulnerable nature (weather, tree leaves, etc.)

  5. Will says:

    Ah, the cvec propaganda continues to roll on. It’s been over a half-decade since we first heard of the promise of BPL — and it indeed is a great concept, in theory. But the latest nightmare — the installation crews got called back to Alabama to do hurricane relief. (What comedy!) CVEC & IBEC web sites, always on top of things (NOT!) — give us no idea if installation has begun again.

    Remember CVEC’s promise in mid-2006 to have all customers with BPL by Christmas — of that year?! (in Daily Progress) Alas, they’ll be lucky to have 10% by Christmas 2008.

    Ah, but Nelson County boosters and media will continue to sing its praises, and talk of progress, when any honest observer would say that CVEC and Kelly in particular have a HUGE credibility problem.

  6. Nate says:

    It’s 2011 now. Any update?

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