Wireless Internet launches Sept. 15

Published 10:08 am Friday, July 13, 2012

FRANKLIN—Wireless high-speed Internet will be launched on Sept. 15 to previously underserved areas in south central Virginia, including Southampton and Isle of Wight counties.

The minimum residential service will cost $37.95 a month for 1.5 megabits per second; the maximum will cost $54.95 at 4 megabits per second, said Michele Taylor, retail manager for Buggs Island Telephone Cooperative in South Hill. Included in the fee is a $3 monthly equipment rental.

Businesses interested in the same level of service will start at $48 a month and pay up to $84.95 a month for 4 megabits. Up to 10 megabits per second will be available for businesses, Taylor said.

There are no caps or limitations on the service, she said.

It will cost $119.99 for homes and businesses to hook up to the system, and users will be required to sign a two-year contract.

“We do understand in some cases it may not function (as well as hoped) and we could waive (the contract) if they want to get out,” Taylor said.

She noted that the level of service available will depend on one’s location.

“It’s kind of like one of those guessing games,” Taylor said. “We don’t truly know until the technician can do a signal check, or speed test if anything (higher than the basic package) is available.”

It could depend on one’s line of sight from the tower, or if there are trees around the home, she said.

Residential rates will be offered to schools, hospitals, fire departments and local government.

Buggs Island received $18.9 million in federal stimulus money and $3.9 million from the Virginia Tobacco Indemnification and Community Revitalization Commission for the $23 million system, which will provide the service to 15 counties.

The Sept. 15 launch marks the completion of the first and primary deployment phase, which has taken 12 months to complete, and will eventually serve 100 percent of the 15 counties. A projected 19,200 subscribers are expected within five years.

To sign up for the service, call Buggs Island in South Hill at 1-434-689-6300, or corporate headquarters in Bracey at 1-434-636-2274.