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PUBLIC COMMENT NOTICE

The County of Prince George intends to file a grant application with the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development (VHCD) under its 2020 Virginia Telecommunications Initiative Program (VATI). In accordance with the VATI Program Guidelines, the County of Prince George is requesting public comments as to its submission of a grant. The County entered into an agreement with PGEC Enterprises dba Ruralband for the first phase of an innovative fiber-to-the-home partnership that had never been attempted in the Commonwealth of Virginia. The proposed phase two grant will be on behalf of Prince George County and its private partner, PGEC Enterprises dba Ruralband.  Prince George County is encouraging the partnership of all municipal governments within the Prince George Electric Cooperative electric service area.

Prince George County consists of 282 square miles, over 50% of the area is unserved or underserved by broadband as identified in the Center for Innovative Technology’s 2016 survey.  The purpose of the public-private partnership of Prince George County and PGEC Enterprises dba Ruralband, along with other local municipal partners, is to achieve the goal of having 100% of the Prince George Electric Cooperative service area in the county served by fiber-to-the-home. Additionally, PGEC Enterprises dba Ruralband will install fiber lines and will own and maintain the fiber system for the County.  PGEC Enterprises dba Ruralband will provide internet service and handle all maintenance and billing.  PGEC Enterprises dba Ruralband proposes, at a minimum, to offer three levels of broadband speeds: 50 mbps/50 mbps upload, 100 mbps/100 mbps upload, and up to 1 Gbps/1 Gbps upload.

In order to provide a record to the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development, comments should be addressed to Jeffrey D. Stoke, Deputy County Administrator for Prince George County. The preferred methods of comment would be by email to jstoke@princegeorgecountyva.gov or by letter sent to Jeffrey D. Stoke, 6602 Courts Drive, Prince George, VA 23875. Comment will also be received by telephone (804) 722-8612. Public comment will be open from Monday, August 5, 2019 to Friday, August 30, 2019.  A complete list of all of the comments will be sent to VA DHCD.

VA DHCD will post electronic copies of all submitted applications to the agency website after the deadline for application submissions has passed and before project approval. Any private sector service provider wishing to request that VA DHCD deem a proposed project area as ineligible for VATI must submit a challenge with the information required in this section no later than 5:00 p.m. on October 9, 2019. VA DHCD will have 30 business days to validate a challenge.