Appomattox County, Virginia
Firefly Fiber BroadbandSM , a wholly-owned subsidiary of Central Virginia Electric Cooperative (CVEC), a member-owned electric distribution cooperative, celebrated the first stop for rural broadband in Central Virginia on Tuesday. Senator Mark Peake joined public officials, CVEC’s board, members, and representatives from Rural Utilities Service (RUS), Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission (TRRC), and the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) to mark the occasion with an on-site ceremony. “I applaud CVEC for taking this step to bring high speed internet to the rural parts of the state,” said Senator Peake. “It is critical that the Commonwealth of Virginia not be left behind in the digital age and that residents and businesses view this region as a place to call home.”
CVEC serves almost 37,000 members across 14 Virginia counties. “As a not-for-profit, member-owned organization, CVEC’s strategy remains focused on meeting the needs of our co-op members,” said Gary Wood, president and CEO of CVEC. “In 1937, CVEC was formed to provide electric service to our members when it was not available. Eighty years later, our members are facing a similar challenge and CVEC is committed to providing reliable and affordable high-speed internet to the communities, businesses, and residents we serve.”
“Cooperatives serve 56% of the nation’s landmass and many are working relentlessly to bring reliable, high speed internet to their communities,” said Paul Breakman, a Senior Director of Business and Technology Strategies with NRECA. “Central Virginia Electric Cooperative is one of nearly 100 electric cooperatives across the nation to launch a rural broadband project, which is both enhancing CVEC’s electric grid operations and member services, and helping to close the digital divide.”
With the addition of a fiber network, CVEC will be able to better incorporate smart grid technology into its daily operations, improve integration of distributed energy resources, and help lower power costs through interactive energy management programs. By increasing bandwidth for communications within its system, CVEC will improve efficiency, increase reliability, and expand security.
CVEC’s fiber construction at Appomattox substation will reach over 1,600 residents and is part of a five-year plan to install over 4,500 miles of fiber-optic cable, providing broadband internet access to all of its members. CVEC will invest $110 million to complete the fiber installation and wil lease the fiber to its subsidiary to offer retail internet and phone services to its members through Firefly Fiber BroadbandSM. The fiber-optic network will be installed on and adjacent to existing overhead and underground electric distribution lines, utilizing the existing infrastructure.
High-speed internet with unlimited data at 100 megabits per second for $49.99 per month or 1 gigabit per second of unlimited data for $79.99 per month are package options offered by Firefly Fiber BroadbandSM. Unlike many other internet services, there are no contracts and the download and upload speeds will be the same on the Firefly network. Voice-over IP phone service (VoIP), with unlimited local and long-distance calling in the continental U.S., will also be available for $34.99 each month. Managed WiFi service is included in all internet packages, assuring the best performance for all wireless devices in a home.
The origin of the subsidiary name, Firefly Fiber BroadbandSM, is explained by CEO Gary Wood. “In the warm central Virginia evenings, the fireflies use the magic of their light to bring beauty to points all across the rural countryside. Firefly Fiber Broadband will use the magic of laser light beamed through fiber optic glass tubes to bring world class, high speed internet service to points all across the rural area. Our goal is to make Firefly Fiber Broadband as much a part of our rural lifestyle as the native fireflies.”
About Central Virginia Electric Cooperative
Central Virginia Electric Cooperative is a member-owned, not-for-profit, electric utility serving almost 37,000 homes, farms and businesses in the rural portions of 14 Virginia counties. CVEC is proud to be a Four-Star Cooperative for Service Excellence certified by the Touchstone Energy Service Excellence Program. For more information, visit www.mycvec.com.
About the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association
The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association is the national trade association representing more than 900 local electric cooperatives. From booming suburbs to remote farming communities, electric co-ops serve as engines of economic development across 56 percent of the nation’s landscape and serve 42 million Americans. Learn more at www.electric.coop.