Repower REC has hosted two public events on rural broadband with national experts on the topic. The first in August of 2020 and the second in February 2021. Learn more and watch the recordings of these events below. We created a handout on broadband resources for the February event.
Virtual Townhall on Broadband Access 2
On February 16, 2021, Repower REC hosted Christopher Ali, professor in the Department of Media Studies at the University of Virginia, for a discussion of rural broadband internet, and the potential for cooperatives to provide high speed broadband with fiber-optic cable to the home in unserved and underserved areas. Professor Ali discussed the differences between fiber optic cable to the home and alternatives such as as fixed-wireless internet and Starlink satellite internet, and answered audience questions. Professor Ali is a nationally recognized expert on rural broadband. His book, Farm Fresh Broadband: The Politics of Rural Connectivity, will be published by MIT Press this fall.
Repower REC also provided a brief update on the Grano vs. Rappahannock Electric Co-op federal lawsuit filed last October, which REC says led it to abandon its efforts to provide broadband in its service territory. The suit challenges a 2020 Virginia law (SB794), which allows electric utilities to use existing easements to provide fiber optic cable for high-speed internet services.
Virtual Townhall on Broadband Access
On August 5, 2020 Repower REC hosted a Virtual Townhall on Broadband internet access with Seth Heald & a national broadband expert. Seth was a candidate for the Rappahannock Electric Co-op (REC) board and is advocating for the co-op to bring fiber to the homes (FTTH) of REC member-owners. We also had a national expert in broadband expansion: Christopher Mitchell, Director of the Community Broadband Networks Initiative at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR).
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