The County’s Broadband Advisory Committee (BAC) was chartered on May 13, 2019 with the purpose of serving as an advisory committee to make recommendations to the Board of Supervisors to assist with the planning, administration, and implementation of New Kent County’s broadband plan. The BAC's charter ended September 30, 2020.
Work of the County's BAC (Spring 2019-Fall 2020)
In Spring 2019, the Committee worked closely with a consultant, Rural Broadband Consulting, to encourage County residents and business owners to complete a broadband survey. Close to 900 respondents provided feedback and the consultant released the final report:
On January 29, 2020, the BAC presented its efforts to develop a New Kent County Strategic Broadband Plan, and its recommendation for expanding broadband service in the County:
On June 24, 2020, the BAC presented updated information and their updated recommendation to the Board of Supervisors:
On July 29, 2020, the BAC appeared before the Board of Supervisors again and introduced Nicholas Pascaretti, who previously served as the Executive Director of the Eastern Shore BAC. They also provided the following documentation:
Further documentation provided by the Broadband Advisory Committee to the Board of Supervisors following the July 29, 2020 meeting:
In September 2020 New Kent County applied for a $4.5 million Virginia Telecommunication Initiative (VATI) grant which requires localities to submit a joint application with a service provider - in this case Cox Communications is our only current provider option. A local government cannot receive VATI funds without proposing a partnership with a service provider. County Administration expects to hear whether this grant will be received around the end of November. The VATI application is to kickoff a process that will eventually serve the entire County under Cox’s phased expansion plan.
On October 13, 2020 the Board of Supervisors approved an agreement with RiverStreet Networks to develop the engineering design plan for a countywide fiber optic network with the intentions of, again, making high speed broadband service available to every household in New Kent County. The engineering process will cost approximately $80,000 and is expected to take 3-5 months with the goal being the County moving forward with construction after the design plan is complete. RiverStreet Networks is a technology brand in North Carolina and Virginia that consists of several companies and is committed to continuing the trend of providing access to high speed Internet in rural America by branching out to the underserved and unserved rural areas of North Carolina and Virginia. This is one of the many options that New Kent is exploring considering broadband.