Dominion, PGEC sign deal to bring broadband to Surry County
Partnership would provide high-speed internet to 7,000 customers.
Dominion Energy Virginia and Prince George Electric Cooperative (PGEC) signed a memorandum of understanding that would bring high-speed internet to about 7,000 households in Surry County, Dominion announced Friday.
This is the first time a utility and a cooperative have partnered to expand broadband access in Virginia, according to Dominion’s news release. The agreement would extend access to 4,500 Dominion customers and 2,200 PGEC customers in Surry that are currently unserved.
The announcement comes after a roundtable on rural broadband access hosted in Prince George County on Thursday by U.S. Representatives Donald McEachin and Abigail Spanberger, also attended by Geoffrey Starks, a Federal Communications Commission commissioner.
In Friday’s announcement, Dominion agrees to serve as “middle mile” provider by allowing Ruralband, a subsidiary of PGEC, to lease fiber and provide last-mile service, a project expected to cost about $16 million to $18 million, according to Dominion. The memorandum will be filed with the State Corporation Commission later this year for regulatory approval.
McEachin, a Democrat who represents Prince George and Surry counties, is on the House of Representatives’ Committee on Energy and Commerce, and Spanberger, D-7th, introduced and passed an amendment to improve the data the FCC collects about rural broadband internet coverage.
Gov. Ralph Northam set a goal for universal broadband in Virginia by 2028, and according to a report released last year by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Amazon.com Inc., 73.2% of Virginia’s rural population had access to broadband, with approximately 600,000 Virginians lacking reliable internet.