Virginia Tobacco Commission supports Sussex County broadband initiative
WAVERLY — The Virginia Tobacco Commission awarded a grant of almost $1.25 million to the Prince George Electric Cooperative, in partnership with Sussex County, to support an initiative to expand high-speed broadband connectivity into Sussex.
“This project is a natural for the Cooperative as we have been bringing solutions to rural communities for more than 80 years,” Mike Malandro, CEO of Prince George Electric Cooperative, said in a statement. “We’re in the business of putting in infrastructure and providing exceptional customer service to our members. Our experience and community-based approach to service delivery and infrastructure development, positions the cooperatives to bring broadband to their service territories.”
The organization finished implementing its pilot program in May 2017, which connected 49 businesses, homes, and county facilities in rural Prince George to broadband access. By the end of 2017, the Cooperative had doubled that number.
To date, Prince George Electric Cooperative has 129 broadband members and 116 pending applicants who are moving ahead in the process towards acquiring high-speed internet.
The Cooperative applied for this grant in hopes of being able to bring a similar internet system to Sussex County, Vice President of Government Relations & Communications Renee Chapline said.
“This will certainly create opportunities — education opportunities, workforce opportunities and potential telemedicine opportunities for this rural community ... it opens doors for a lot of prosperity,” Chapline said.
The group runs on a cooperative-based model, meaning that customers are also members of the organization, which operates as a non-profit business.
The Cooperative received an award for “Innovative Practices” at this year’s Hopewell Prince George Chamber of Commerce meeting in February.
Kate Gibson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (804) 722-5162.