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Broadband install underway

Charlotte County’s initiative to bring broadband access to rural homes is underway in the Bacon and Phenix area.

“We are currently serving 31 homes off of the Bacon and Phenix towers,” said Mid-Atlantic Broadband Cooperative (MBC) Director of Community Outreach and Innovative Programs Jeremy Satterwhite. “I hope to be able to serve a few more folks that we had to take offline once we get high-powered base radios for the Phenix tower.”

The broadband project was announced last October as a collaboration between MBC and Microsoft. At the time, the Virginia Tobacco Commission announced a $300,000 grant was awarded to Charlotte, Halifax and Campbell counties to aid with the project. 

“MBC is partnering with B2X and they will mainly be providing tech support/help desk services, as well as serving as the people on the ground doing customer installs and things of that nature,” Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission Public Relations Coordinator Jordan Butler said. “They will also be one of the companies folks will be able to purchase access from.”

According to its website, B2X Online Inc. is a wireless internet service provider based in the Salem area.

“We will be equipping three more towers within the next 30 days which will allow us to install at additional homes,” Satterwhite said.

He said those towers would include the areas of Mullins, Saxe and Eureka. However, an alternate site would need to be found for a proposed tower at Randolph-Henry High School.

“MBC is continuing to ship equipment into the area and install it as quickly as possible, but it is a time consuming process that includes permitting for towers, construction, equipment installation and testing,” Butler said.

Satterwhite also said the details are still being worked out about a possible tower at Southside Virginia Community College.