BPL : Verizon Responds To NCL Inquires Regarding Installation

BPL Crews continue to install on their end while waiting on word from Verizon
BPL Crews continue to install on their end while waiting on word from Verizon

Updated: 11:40 PM EDT: IBEC Responds as well, via comments section.

In the continuing BPL saga in Nelson County, Virginia – Verizon officially responded to NCL’s request for information regarding the status of Verizon finishing their side of the system which will provide internet to the BPL interface that IBEC has installed.

This afternoon we got the following e-mail from Harry Mitchell, Media Affairs for Verizon in Virginia:

From: “Mitchell, Harry J.
Date: October 27, 2008 4:43:48 PM EDT
To: “Tommy Stafford”
Subject: RE: BPL – Verizon Halts activation to IBEC-3


The following captures where we are at this point:

Verizon has worked with broadband-over-powerline providers, including IBEC, to provide connection with them at network interfaces for which there are published IEEE connection standards. In this case, a different network interface has been proposed that we have not worked with before and for which there are no published standards for protecting the telecommunications network from damage possible from direct connection to a power grid. We are evaluating the technology the customer wants to apply, but we have an obligation to protect our network, our employees and others in close proximity from any damaging voltage or current.

I’ve reached out to my Wireless counterpart on your other question.



Harry J Mitchell
Verizon Communications
Director-Field Media Relations, Mid-Atlantic/South-Central Regions

The additional reference Mr. Mitchell makes about our question is on the wireless side and is not connected with the current situation on BPL. NCL has been told by several property owners that Verizon Wireless has told them, that plans to expand their digital wireless network into Nelson County have been stopped, and they are scrapping plans to build such a network here. However, with the recent proposed merger of Alltel into Verizon Wireless, that would give the company a presence in selected Nelson locations. No official details of abandoning the plan have been released but numerous property owners, some that were already having site work done, tell NCL that’s the word they got from Verizon and / or it’s contractors. That type of system would have given customers another broadband choice using their wireless network for internet.

AT&T continues their build out in Nelson which began late last year.

Ntelos Wireless continues as well, but with some limited opposition in one area just north of Nellysford, Virginia.

More as we know on both fronts.


  1. IBEC is now working with the Virginia State Corporation Commision to reach a timely resolution to this matter. The service we have ordered is a regulated service that is installed with the well established IEEE 487 Recommended Practice for the Protection of Wire-Line Communication Facilities Serving Electric Power Locations. IBEC was also a contributor to the IEEE P1675 BPL Standard on Hardware and Installation.

    Thanks for your support.

  2. This is concerning on two fronts: (1) forward progress in bringing reliable “broadband” to rural Nelson County is entirely in the hands of one organization – Verizon – which has no incentive to break up its own stranglehold and (2) efforts to create a healthy “horserace” among vendors has not paid off.

    While all this is going on, the practical speed benchmark of good residential broadband has shifted from 1.5MB (Verizon DSL) or 0.6MB (IBEC, which could be more usable than Verizon’s 1.5MB if the service is reliable and ping times are low) to the 50MB or 60MB that residences in higher tech and newly-built out areas are enjoying. We are being left further behind even as we try to catch up.

  3. John is right.

    All of this waiting, and at the end of it all a whopping 256K.
    While that’s an improvement over dialup, it’s a long way from broadband.

  4. The type of capital investment required for true broadband in outlying rural areas is almost impossible for private companies to fund. If you look at the historical standards for delivering power and POTS to rural areas it was accomplished through Rural Electrification programs ,funded by and supported by federal programs , or we have a monopoly like AT&T, which subsidized POTS for the consumer. Laying broadband in the rural areas is a capital investment in America, with the benefits of jobs, jobs and more jobs. Maybe we can get some of that 700B !
    As for the current dilemma, Verizon is correct if IBEC is attaching some piece of equipment that is not tested or certified for the usage required.


  6. Tommy,

    I write in response to the next to last line in your above article.

    The opposition to the 130 foot monopole Class III tower that nTelos wants to put in “just north of Nellysford” in Greenfield is NOT BY ANY MEANS LIMITED. In addition to people attending and speaking at the Planning and Zoning and Board of Supervisors meetings, untold emails and phone calls have been placed to the Board of Supervisors in opposition to the tower. A letter was written to the Board in opposition by the Rockfish Valley Presbyterian Church, a two hundred plus member congregation of local residents.

    There are many reasons for this opposition – aesthetic, wildlife, nature and health concerns – but we are united in our resolve to prevent this large corporation from coming into our county and endangering its unique, amazing beauty and rural character in order to improve their bottom line.

    Verizon Wireless has put up low-profile towers in Nelson that are inconspicuous and within county standards. nTelos, on the other hand, has resisted the more costly low-profile approach and has instead applied for an exception to the Scenic Byway Ordinance that prevents construction of any cell tower within the byway viewshed (i.e., one mile off the highway)(Nelson Ordinances 20-7-2e, 20-4-21), and is even claiming hardship in order to so. They are also seeking an exception to the ordinance requiring them to landscape around the facility (Ordinance 20-7-5k), which will be located just 215 feet from the Byway and clearly visible from the road six months of the year. Yet another nTelos cost cutting measure at our expense. nTelos hasn’t even applied for an exception to Ordinance 20-7-2c, which prevents any cell tower height greater than 30 feet above the existing vegetative canopy. Their 130 foot structure will extend 5 – 6 stories above the area’s average tree height of 65 feet. In short, they want to make money off of the county but are not willing to invest the money that it would take to comply with our standards, aesthetic or otherwise.

    Further, the need for this location is highly questionable since both Verizon and Alltel phones show four bars just across the road from where the tower would be located. Of course, nTelos would allow other providers to co-locate – the law requires them to do so. But that begs the question, why can’t nTelos co-locate on someone else’s tower? The answer once again is cost savings for nTelos at Nelson County’s expense.

    We are not against technology and development, but we want smart growth, not spot zoning and stupid sprawl. Today it is a cell phone tower (and not just one, mind you, but as many as 10 all total, from what I understand). But tomorrow, it will be a subdivision, and the next day a strip mall, and before you know it, Scenic Byway 151 will look like Route 29 North.

    Protests have been voiced at both Board of Supervisors meetings held on the issue so far and will be again on Tuesday, November 18 when the Board makes its decision.

    And by the way, one of the major points that nTelos is using to sell their tower is that it will improve the signal that people get while driving up and down Rte. 151.

    Just what we need – people talking and texting as they cruise along the “Road to Tragedy”!


  7. By Limited Janet, we actually meant to that geographic area. Though there have been some limited objections in other pockets of the county, the biggest has been there in your situation. In other parts of the county, as you have properly stated, Verizon and AT & T have gone the extra mile to put in low profile sites that are aesthetically pleasing to the surroundings, generally 80 foot monopoles or less. Though in principal, I personally don’t have a problem with correctly done structures, like the AT & T sites, Verizon, Alltel, etc – Ntelos should have known this was not going to fly, or at least not without a fight given the way they proceeded.

  8. I do not understand the reasoning behind not wanting to bring Nelson County into the 21st century. Communication technology has come a long way in the last twenty years and cell towers are part of the advancement. Your county is missing out on many opportunities to bring jobs and revenue to the area. As a resident of Lynchburg, I travel through Nelson County to get to Richmond. My company is looking to expand and build a large facility midway between Richmond and Lynchburg that would employ 500-600 people. After two road trips through Nelson without any cell service, the President and CEO conducted a very brief study of the Nelson County area and determined that the area was not equipped to handle the basic cell phone services that would be required. As matter of fact, the county basiclly has NO CELL PHONE SERVICE. At&t is the national carrier for our company and they state that the county will not allow the appropriate towers to be built. You say it would detract from the scenery or harm the rare pink footed ladybug’s habitat that is native to your county. Well, good luck on turning the tourism dollars from the pink footed ladybug into a goldmine. There should be no complaining coming from that county because businesses are leaving or will not commit to a county that is not willing to conform to what the majority of the world is doing. Hell, look at Iraq, they are MORE ADVANCED than Nelson County Virginia in the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. Good job and keep up the good work, you might try carrier pigeons.

  9. William.

    What the majority of the world is doing is basically what you are promoting. Fake progress for money.

    Life existed long before the advent of the cell phone. Sure, it is a convenient tool. Perhaps this may come as a shock to you, not everyone is looking for tourism dollars and more traffic.

    The idea of another 500 people driving in this county while simultaneously talking on the cell phone somehow doesn’t appeal to me.

    It’s only a cell phone.

  10. Erik,

    Call GEICO, you can star in the next caveman commercial. The tourism thing was a joke, a pink footed ladybug? Fake progress for money? No, it’s called new jobs for the people of the county, not outsiders moving in. More revenue for better schools, better roads, more Monster Truck events, and people actually driving through the county, not around it. Don’t bitch and moan about the unemployment rate, the neighbors dog barking because you don’t have animal control officers.

  11. I am grateful for people like Janet who are working so hard to preserve Nelson County “life”; and Nelson County Life Magazine for providing a forum to keep Nelson residents up to date on current issues. William does not seem to grasp the fact that types of tourists attracted to Nelson County are drawn to the extensive wooded mountain trails, multiple thriving vineyards, orchards and the outstanding scenery. This breed of “tourist” generally appreciates the interruption from incessant and intrusive cell phone calls. Not to mention the disastrous impact the county has experienced by inattentive drivers. He speaks of the necessity of current technology, but let’s face it, cell phones will eventually be as obsolete as pagers and typewriters. No more do we want obtrusive towers than we are willing to have the giant satellite dishes sitting in our front yards from the technology of days of yore. So William…no, this is not Short Pump, 29 North or Potomac Mills. So take your short (sighted) sell elsewhere. Oh, and have a nice day in Nelson County!

  12. “Don’t bitch and moan about the unemployment rate……”

    William. What does your company do or produce?

    Honestly, I’m glad you reside in such a progressive town as Lynchburg.
    Do you shed real tears as you leave your TGIFridays/Walmart Best Buy strip? Or do you brave it out till you hit either the Waynesboro or Shortpump version of your strip mall town?

  13. For your information William, we do have animal control. And we wish that you would stay out of Nelson, take the long way around because we don’t need you on our roads that are already fine, our schools are doing great, and I don’t know about Monstre Truck events, but im sure if we want to do one on our own we could be quite successfull, because we’re Nelson County and we can take care of oursevles. Thanks for the offer! ……not……..

  14. Oh, and if my neighbors dog barks, I don’t call Animal Control on my cell phone, I walk next door and talk to him. Maybe say hello to his family while I’m there.

    In “Caveman Speak” of course.

  15. This “blog” is getting testy. In response to William not being able to get cell service in Nelson, balderdash also the unemployment rate in Nelson is still one of the lowest in the state(4.0). On the otherhand in Falwellville(Lynchburg) your unemployment rate is 4.7. Must be your dynamic economic model. Cell tower capitol of the south.

  16. Not to beat a dead horse here but….. Back to William’s “Company”
    What business can afford to employ 500-600 people?

    William, weigh in on this if you please.

  17. I don’t know what his “company” does and I’m trying to figure out as well what company can afford to employ 500-600 people at this time in the economy. I’m thinking maybe a bank, they seem to have a nice chuck of money *cough* bailout plan *cough*, and that seems to fit his way of thinking. Make as much money as you can and blame the downfall on any and everyone you can. Now that William is one hell of a business plan. And for some strange, crazy reason I seem to have cell service through Alltel. But I’m probably the only one, right? (sarcasm)

  18. No sipping going on here SLAPPY. Just in the process of planning and acquiring the appropriate work orders for the implementation of the new facility in Charlottesville. Nice work Nelson County. You don’t need us in your county. Hope all is well in Nelson, good luck…. Good Night Now!


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