High-speed Internet to cost $37.95 a month

Published 11:14 am Tuesday, May 1, 2012

COURTLAND—When high-speed Internet comes available after Labor Day throughout Southampton and Isle of Wight counties, residents can expect to pay $37.95 plus taxes for the service.

That’s according to Mickey Sims, general manager of Buggs Island Telephone Cooperative, which applied for $18.9 million in federal stimulus fund in 2009 to develop a rural broadband system in a 15-county area of southeastern Virginia.

Sims told Southampton County supervisors during their recent meeting that an agreement with the Department of Commerce will mean the basic fee will remain the same for four years. Higher speeds of Internet will be available at an increased cost.

Currently, high-speed Internet is limited to town and villages. Residents have been limited to dial-up, costly satellite services and air-card connections through cell phone providers like Verizon.

“Affordable broadband access is an economic game-changer for rural communities, opening doors and providing opportunities for rural residents that have long been beyond their reach,” County Administrator Mike Johnson told supervisors.

Sims told supervisors the service will cover the entire county.

Construction began earlier this year in Emporia on the network. Mid-Atlantic Broadband Cooperative crews began burying cable west of Emporia and will continue to follow Route 58 into Courtland and Franklin. Another line from Wakefield will connect with Windsor and Smithfield in Isle of Wight County.

It took about 12 months to get the permits and the environmental assessment done.

Buggs Island Telephone also will offer unlimited long-distance calling for $30 a month, Sims said. Packages will be offered to businesses in Franklin, Emporia, South Hill and Smithfield.