Vance Commissioners Approve County-Wide Broadband Agreement

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The Vance County Board of Commissioners has approved a multi-year incentive agreement with Open Broadband to provide high-speed wireless internet for residential and commercial customers throughout the county.

While a public hearing was held at the July 1 Commissioners’ meeting, no public comments were made.

According to Vance County Manager Jordan McMillen, Open Broadband will provide high-speed internet service at more competitive rates than current providers.

In return for the commitment of installing broadband service and select free WiFi zones, an economic development grant in the amount of $264,000 will be provided over four years ($66,000 per year) with the source of funds being appropriated from the Vance County General Fund Balance.

This incentive is being combined with a state GREAT grant totaling $344,000.

Commissioners and officials will have a kickoff meeting with Open Broadband on Monday, July 15, 2019.

Background on county-wide broadband service (information taken from July 1 meeting agenda):

Vance County participated in a regional effort with Granville and Franklin Counties to deploy broadband throughout the county and region. This work began informally in 2016 with a committee of individuals representing Vance County, Vance County Schools, Vance-Granville Community College, the City of Henderson, and the Kerr-Tar COG.

The committee developed a citizen survey which was released in late 2016, and by spring 2017 the results indicated areas of Vance County in need of high-speed internet service and/or better service. This work led to the regional initiative which brought Mighty River, LLC on board in early 2018 as a consultant.

During 2018, a regional broadband strategy was developed, additional surveys were completed in Granville and Franklin Counties, and a Request for Proposals (RFP) was released to potential internet providers.

The RFPs were released in August 2018 and a total of four companies – NC Broadband Partnership, Open Broadband, Foresite & Riverstreet – responded by the October 18, 2018, deadline.

The counties have since reviewed the proposals, narrowed the selection down to two wireless providers (NC Broadband Partnership and Open Broadband) and appropriated funding in the budget process.

The Vance County Board of Commissioners voted on July 1, 2019, to award the contract to Open Broadband.

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