Nelson: BRI Talks Plans For Fiber Network At BOS Meeting

Blue Ridge Life™2012 – (left) Jeff Cornejo, co-owner of Blue Ridge InternetWorks in Charlottesville listens as business partner and additional co-owner Baylor Fooks of BRI addresses the Nelson Board of Supervisors Tuesday night – December 11, 2012.

Nelson County, VA

Representatives from Blue Ridge InternetWorks (BRI) met with the Nelson County Broadband Authority and the Nelson Board of Supervisors Tuesday night to discuss more about their plans as they prepare to rollout high speed broadband fiber internet to parts of Nelson County. BRI was recently selected at the network operator and a provider for the service.”As of tonight we already have about 300 or more inquires about our service from people in Nelson County,” said Baylor Fooks of BRI. The BRI duo told the board most of those were in the Afton zipcode thus far.

Also discussed by BRI was a possible plan of extended the current network beyond where it’s physically in the ground by merging it with copper technology. “It’s involved, but we are looking at extending the reach of the fiber network to others by using existing phone company copper pairs. This works approximately 3 miles out from the fiber connection giving subscribers DSL type speeds,” Baylor continued. The move would allow for many others to use the network in addition to those connected directly to fiber or by wireless services. Though approval wold have to come from companies like Verizon to lease their copper, Baylor said it is allowed by law.

More discussion continued into the meeting about rates. Several supervisors and BRI representatives said that while the curent business class rate structures were a good starting point (several hundred dollars a month) a vast majority of small to medium businesses, nor residences, could budget that for internet costs.

Clay Stewart of Stewart Computer Services also told the board he’s excited about the prospects of working together with BRI and the county to widen reach of his current wireless network that is already heavily concentrated in the southern part of Nelson, but expanding quickly into Afton. He too expressed concern about having affordable wholesale rates from the county.

As the meeting closed BRI said they should have some firm numbers worked up soon to see what the exact costs might look like to consumers. Committee members will meet with BRI in the coming weeks to get into more details about rates and installation charges.

More history on the fiber internet project in Nelson County here.


  1. This project is going so slow it will be so out of date by the time residential service is available.

    Any updates?

  2. The ball is pretty much in the hands of the ISP’s now. Blue Ridge Internetworks to name one. They have applied for permission to use Verizon’s landline copper pairs to extend the network beyond the fiber availability. Once that permission is granted, they should make pretty quick progress. The fiber backbone is in place and is working. Just a few days ago Clay Stewart released the following information on his efforts to utilize the fiber net to expand his reach. An excerpt from his letter to the county:

    “This letter is to serve as record that Stewart Computer Services, SCS, has issued a decision to move forward with leasing the tower and fiber resources of the Nelson County Broadband Network. SCS has good faith that the county will work with SCS as the project goes forward and make decisions which will support the success of this project.”

    So that’s another player (within Nelson) now in he game. Good news for end users.

    Regardless, this fiber project is the best hope from many people across Nelson County that have had little to no options until now.

  3. I’m sure the fiber optic backbone has been a boon to government, medical, emergency services etc. But if the other goal of this project was affordable broadband for residential customers and small business this thing is going to fall woefully short.

    I also fail to see how it will provide services to that many more people in remote areas of the county.

    With speed advances in both 3g/4g services in the county and new products from exede and Hughes Net that are falling well below SCS pricing I fail to see how this project has provided affordable broadband to the county.

    there is some appeal to the potential for unlimited bandwidth but at what cost.

    I can only hope BRI can save the day but I have serious doubts.

  4. Based on a recent mailer I received from Verizon advertising their HomeFusion service I wonder what incentive they even have to lease any of their copper lines.

    Isn’t this the scenario they’ve been working towards when they announced no plans to extend their DSL coverage a couple years ago and they have slowly tried to eliminate existing DSL customers?

    It’s no coincidence that suddenly a local Verizon tower is upgraded to 4G, which i noticed on my cell phone about a month or so ago. Perhaps they couldn’t have done this without the fiber backbone, I have no idea.

    It just doesn’t bode well for companies hoping to lease and then resell DSL service through copper. There’s almost no incentive for Verizon to play ball.

    I have never really liked Verizon as a company but i find myself with Verizon cell service and a Verizon 3G modem because I have no alternative.

    I wish BRI would roll out some initial pricing so some of us could make some decisions. In a previous article it said it would be a matter of weeks. I think we’re pushing the threshold of what safely fits within “weeks”.

  5. well, it looks like some good decisions regarding pricing were made with $60/month for 25/5 for anyone that can get a direct fiber connection.

    how many people can get to this service is the next hurdle. since i live about 1-2 miles from 29 i figure it will be another year before anything heads out that way, though if BRI can come up with a different pricing package and run a line out 56 to Shipman there are probably 100 or so households that could benefit.


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