Wireless Internet service delayed

Published 1:39 pm Monday, October 8, 2012

FRANKLIN—The startup of wireless high-speed Internet to previously underserved areas in south-central Virginia, including Southampton and Isle of Wight counties, could be delayed until the end of the year.

“I don’t like to give a date, but when a date becomes available, I will definitely (let you know),” said Michele Taylor, retail manager for Buggs Island Telephone Cooperative in South Hill.

Buggs Island expected to launch the service on Sept. 15, but its equipment has been interfering with a cellular phone company’s equipment, Taylor said.

“What causes our interference causes customers to be totally down, or up and down,” she said.

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 problem was created when a cellular company offered service, and Buggs Island’s equipment was interfering with the service, Taylor said.

“We are working with the company, and we’ve been working one-on-one with their technicians to work this out,” she said. “We are supposed to be able to operate with each other.”

Buggs Island doesn’t want to launch its service until the matter is worked out.

“We want to provide the best reliable service that we can,” Taylor said.

Once the service is available, 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. 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.

There are no caps or limitations on the service.

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.

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

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.