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Phase 1 and 2 Exec Summary

Phase 1 and 2 Exec Summary

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Published by Luray Page Va

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Published by: Luray Page Va on Jul 22, 2010
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09/03/2010

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Icon Broadband TechnologiesIcon Broadband Technologies 
A Division of Icon Engineering,, Inc.A Division of Icon Engineering,, Inc. 
6745 Bells Ferry Road6745 Bells Ferry Road Woodstock, Georgia 30189Woodstock, Georgia 30189 
Community Broadband Planning Study
Page County, Virginia
Phase I and II—Final Report
March 31, 2008
Executive Summary
 
 
Page County, VA Community Broadband Planning StudyPhase I and II Final Report March 31, 2008 Page 4
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Executive Summary
Synopsis
A telecommunications planning study has been completed for Page County, Virginia that is designed toanswer questions relating to the need for broadband infrastructure, options for providing connectivity,ways to organize potential networks and address funding requirements. The study management team wascomprised of key county stakeholders representing economic development, healthcare, public schools andhigher education, and leaders from the business community. Detailed results of individual taskscompleted in accordance with Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD)grant requirements are provided in the full report.Funding for this study was provided by DHCD using Community Development Block Grant funds. U.S.Department of Housing and Urban Development data indicates 9,296 low to moderate income (LMI)households located throughout the County and comprising over 40% of total households. Each of the fivecensus tracts contain a minimum of one block group of households (total of thirteen block groups) inexcess of 51% LMI. The recent economic downturn in the U.S. is clearly evident in Page County, asunemployment rates have risen to their highest level in the past twelve months. The unemployment ratein Page County was 8.6% as of February 2008, compared to only 3.8% for all of Virginia.
Unemployment Rates
 Past 12 Months
Page CountyVirginiaUnited States
Source: Virginia Employment Commission, Page County Profile; Last Updated 4/5/2008
 
 
Page County, VA Community Broadband Planning StudyPhase I and II Final Report March 31, 2008 Page 5
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A comprehensive needs assessment was completed that indicates solid residential and business supportfor higher speeds of Internet and data connectivity. Economic development efforts to recruit businesses toPage County are hampered by a lack of high speed infrastructure to support technology-dependentindustries such as those currently located in high-traffic urban areas. Over one-third of residents arecommuting to work outside the County daily; only citizens located within the limited DSL and cablemodem service areas are capable of participating in the State’s teleworking initiative. Wireless Internetaccess is currently deployed in limited areas of the County and at higher costs than DSL, primarilyattributed to high costs associated with data backhaul over private provider networks. In addition, therequirement for subscribers to fund wireless equipment and installation costs deters broad adoption of thislast mile access method. Most importantly, the absence of a fiber carrier in the County to provideaffordable data backhaul to the Internet has deterred new providers from offering services in competitionwith incumbent providers. Through board resolution, the County supports investment in an open accessfiber optic network to encourage broadband service deployment if financially feasible.While seeking to facilitate broadband service deployment in rural areas, the Commonwealth anticipatesany County investment encompass an open access network solution whereby multiple private providerscan serve subscribers. In areas of Southwest Virginia today, several rural communities are investing infiber and wireless technology to bring broadband services closer to their citizens. These communities are benefiting from the Mid Atlantic Broadband Cooperative (MBC) long haul fiber network passing throughtheir counties that was the vision of and funded by the Virginia Tobacco Indemnification Commission for revitalization of these previous tobacco producing areas. Private providers have taken advantage of thewholesale fiber access and are deploying fiber and wireless services to areas where previously only dial-up Internet access was possible.Page County does not have the benefit of this type of community revitalization funding, nor the luxury of having a fiber optic carrier passing through the County. The first step in encouraging broadbandexpansion in Page County is to create a fiber pathway closer to the communities to be served. Additionaldemand for Internet services will help support broadband networks, but ultimately the cost of providingthe infrastructure must be borne by private or public providers, or some partnership of both. Thisresearch has shown encouraging signs of attracting new providers, but also the high cost of buildinginfrastructure. The strategic plan developed for the County utilizes a phased approach, laying thefoundation for broadband services in a fiscally responsible manner.

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