By. John Haksch, Louisa County Field Officer
Louisa County Board of Supervisors’ vision for providing ubiquitous broadband service for all county residents has progressed beyond speculation since the June 2nd approval of a study to determine how wide a coverage can be provided at what cost.
In June, the Board approved a 60-day, $3,750 study by CVA-Link, a local firm that provided the only serious bid on the study. In approving the Study of Phase 1 Supervisor Fitzgerald Barnes (Patrick Henry) said, “This is a prime example of listening to our constituents – a step in the right direction. A service our citizens ask for and there is no excuse we can’t provide it”.
The final results are not expected until well after the August 1st Board meeting, but preliminary numbers seem to indicate that the county would be looking at funding from between $7 million and $10.1 million dollars from the county’s reserve fund, which could be recouped by Louisa County within as little as five years according to a ‘best case’ financial model that assumes a seemingly optimistic 50% market penetration in the coverage area.
The difference between the high and low number is due to the actual number of towers that would have to be placed, constructed and equipped. Some residents may be left out in the cold if the lower figure wins the day.
County staffers do not see the cost as prohibitive and anticipate Board approval of at least the first construction phase, which is expected to provide service for the fortunate 50% of the residents of population centers who would be in its coverage area for a relatively inexpensive $1.5 to $3 million investment.
The second and third phases, which would cover the more rural areas could cost two to three times as much more, due to the physical distances and sheer area involved in covering the lower population density areas in the rest of the county.
John Haksch is the Louisa County Field Officer for the Free Enterprise Forum a privately funded public policy organization. If you find this report helpful, please consider supporting the Free Enterprise Forum. To learn more visit www.freeenterpriseforum.org
Photo Courtesy of CVA-Link