Friday, July 13, 2007

Rose Hill fiber lighting


Rose Hill Fiber Optic Project Lighting Event

June 11, 2007

Rose Hill, Virginia

I am pleased to return to Rose Hill this morning to join with officials from Lee County, Lonesome Pine Regional Library and the LENOWISCO Planning Distsrict Commission to participate in a truly worthy celebration. Today, we formally light the new Rose Hill Fiber Optic Network, a project which will enable the provision of affordable high-speed Internet access to 150 homes, the Rose Hill Elementary School, the Rose Hill Public Library and several businesses in the Rose Hill community. Additionally, a new public Internet access site connected to the fiber optic network has been established here at the Rose Hill Public Library.
Approximately ten years ago, I encouraged local governments throughout the Ninth District to find a means of deploying broadband networks so that affordable high-speed Internet access would be available to businesses and residents throughout our region. My goal in making this recommendation was to set our region apart in comparison to other rural areas of the nation, to make us more attractive than the typical rural region to industries looking to expand their operations into new locations, and to create technology-based jobs for Southwest Virginians.
Today, I am pleased to note that many of the communities in our region are making great strides in the deployment of broadband networks, and the success which we celebrate today in Rose Hill is a shining example of the outstanding work that is being done in many of our localities.
Using a $506,048 federal grant, which I secured from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Rural Utilities Service, a grant of more than $100,000 from the Virginia Tobacco Commission and contributions from the C. Bascom Slemp Foundation, the Lee County Board of Supervisors and the Lee County Community Foundation, Sunset Digital Communications has installed more than 5 miles of fiber optic backbone and distribution aerial cable over the "last mile" from its Internet backbone to the homes and businesses in Rose Hill.
Sunset Digital Communications has deployed fiber optics to the premises of more than 150 homes and businesses in the Rose Hill community as well as to Rose Hill Elementary School and the Rose Hill Public Library. High speed internet service will be available to residents at $49.95 and to businesses at $79.95 per month.
In addition to the new broadband services available to residents and businesses in Rose Hill, a portion of the federal grant funds have been used to establish a computer laboratory and public Internet access site at the Rose Hill Public Library, which will provide free access to high speed Internet and offer free computer and Internet training workshops beginning later this month.
Construction on the computer lab is now complete, and the 10 new computer workstations are now online. With the addition of the new computer center, the library will be increasing its hours of operation to 40 hours per week, including some night and weekend hours.
Previously, the library housed two computer work stations connected to the Internet through a private point-to-point connection to the Lonesome Pine Regional Library located in Wise. Frequently, this system would fail due to a weak connection over aging infrastructure causing the Internet terminals to be unavailable for use as well as the inavailability of the library's automated check out system. After today's launch of the Rose Hill fiber optic network, library patrons will no longer experience frequent interruptions in service.
I am pleased to note that the Rose Hill fiber optic network marks just one of our efforts to deploy broadband service throughout Lee County. The Rose Hill network will connect to the Coalfield Coalition fiber optic backbone, which is being installed along 160 miles throughout Lee, Wise and Scott counties. Last fall I gathered with many of you here today for the start of construction on this new infrastructure, and today new network is nearing completion. When completed, the Coalfield Coalition fiber optic backbone will greatly expand broadband access to new communities throughout the coal producing counties.
Just as first canals, then railroads and then highways were the major arteries of commerce in earlier eras, in the 21st Century, access to broadband will be a defining feature of economic success for rural communities. Step by positive step our expanding fiber optic infrastructure is assuring that Southwest Virginia's communities will be at the center of economic opportunity.
I would like to take this opportunity to recognize several individuals who have been instrumental in the success which we celebrate today. I would like to thank Patrick Carey, General Field Representative for the Rural Utilities Service at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, who has provided immense support to those involved in obtaining the federal funding for this project. I also want to thank Patty Yates who represents Rose Hill on the Lee County Board of Supervisors, and the other members of the Board for their efforts to improve the quality of life in the Rose Hill community and throughout Lee County.
Ron Flanary and his excellent staff at LENOWISCO have provided vision and leadership in expanding the telecommunications infrastructure in the region, and I thank Ron for that critical role. Finally, I want to recognize my District Director, Laura Lee, for the work she has performed for this project. I place a high priority in my office in obtaining successes much like the one we celebrate today, and Laura's work is vital to our efforts to deploy new broadband technology throughout Southwest Virginia.
The Rose Hill fiber optic network which we officially light today marks another major step forward in our work to improve the quality of life for Southwest Virginia residents. I want to commend all here for the success of this project and offer a special congratulations to the residents and business owners who will benefit tremendously from the new broadband telecommunications services that are now available to them.


Anonymous said...

When you hear broadband providers or your colleagues and friends talking about "wireless" they could actually

be talking about two separate things:Wireless

, having a wire free computer in the house connected to a broadband connection.
Broadband" href="">Wireless Broadband
, this is a special kind of broadband package

where you can use it at home, but also in certain places when you are away from home. All you need is your phone

number or pastcode to see if either of these broadband connections are available and you can check it at

title="" href="">

Joan said...

Thank you for the post. Yes, I'd like to learn more about the two different wireless types. Folks have called me asking where they can access wireless in Rose Hill. Word-of-mouth has relayed a few sites, such as in the parking lot of the pool hall (Top Dog Arcade) and in the little "downtown square" near O'Dells Furniture. I saw an article in the USA Weekend (the Sunday newspaper insert, issued Jan 18-20, 2008) touting a t-shirt that sounds fun. Here's some quotes from the article, " is selling a black t-shirt featuring an antenna logo with radiating waves on each side of it. Here's the clincher: The logo actually lights up in the presence of a wireless signal. The stronger the signal, the more brightly the logo lights up." The shirt costs $29.99. Anyway, I just think it would be fun to see how many places in Rose Hill that shirt lights up! haha! I know sales representatives coming to Rose Hill and been shocked to pleasantly discover that they can access open wireless in some spots around town. I know the sales reps and such folks could tell me the same thing as they go round town with their techno gizmos (laptops, whatever) and provide the same info, but it just sounds much more fun doing it with a glowing t-shirt. haha!