New Kent, Cox announce $34M internet expansion
Rollout to expand internet access to full county
New Kent County and Cox Communications Inc. have announced a $34 million public-private partnership to bring internet access via a fiber-optic network to all county residents and businesses.
Work on the first phase is scheduled to begin this month and includes building out service to support 3,000 county residents who don’t currently have broadband access, according to a news release. The estimated completion for the first phase is in 2024, though residents will have access as neighborhoods are completed.
The second phase involves build out of the the fiber-optic network to all remaining county residents and businesses, for a total of 566.7 miles. Completion of the second phase is anticipated by the end of 2026 but residents and businesses will have access as soon as build out of their areas are finished, New Kent spokesperson Krista Eutsey said.
The county is investing $16.1 million, with an additional $17.8 million from Cox.
Expanding broadband is a top priority for county leaders, New Kent County Board of Supervisors Chairman Thomas W. Evelyn said in a statement. The 212-square mile county is home to more than 23,000 residents. Between 2010 and 2020, its population grew by almost 5,000 people.
“This is a major step forward and the partnership with Cox will help to ensure that our community thrives well into the future,” Evelyn said.
Cox has begun engineering and design work to start permitting and is working with property owners to gain needed access.
“Connectivity is at the heart of everything we do,” J.D. Myers II, Cox senior vice president and Virginia region manager, said in a statement. “Our team here in Virginia has been focused on providing the most powerful connection — high-speed internet — to communities across our state.”
Cox serves more than 6.5 million homes and businesses across 18 states and is the largest division of Atlanta-based Cox Enterprises Inc.
Other areas of the state are gaining faster internet access. In July, Waynesboro-based Lumos announced an $83 million fiber internet expansion in Hampton Roads, and in December 2021, the state invested $722 million in grants to extend broadband access to 70 localities with internet gaps. Then-Gov. Ralph Northam anticipated that 90% of the state would have broadband by 2024.