The Pittsylvania County Board of Supervisors is fully committed to expanding access to reliable, high-speed, and affordable internet across every corner of our county. To do that, Pittsylvania County partnered with RiverStreet Networks. With local investments of $16.5 million, company investments, and other grant programs, RiverStreet Networks is currently developing a network that is expected to reach more than 11,985 unserved locations in approximately three years. This project has a total estimated cost of more than $75 million.
Pittsylvania County, Pittsylvania County Schools, and RiverStreet Networks leaders signed a memorandum of understanding in September of 2021, agreeing to continue to pursue additional funding opportunities that allow for every Pittsylvania County resident to be reached.
Background and Commitment
Internet access has become increasingly important in recent years. From education to health care to business and employment opportunities, internet access is a crucial component of everyday life and is more of a necessity than a luxury.
The Pittsylvania County Board of Supervisors is dedicated to expanding access to reliable, affordable, and high-speed internet access to all county residents. As part of a strategic plan that was adopted in 2019, the Board of Supervisors identified a goal of providing broadband availability to 90% of county residents by 2024 by facilitating private sector development. The goal of providing broadband availability to as many residents as possible remains the same, but the Board is feeling additional urgency due to a few changes since 2019: the COVID-19 pandemic accentuated the need for quality internet access to do many everyday tasks and additional funding opportunities from all levels have become available.
- Why is Pittsylvania County partnering with RiverStreet Networks instead of another company?
- Where is the money for this partnership coming from?
- What is the timeline for this project?
- What is the definition of broadband?
- What does unserved mean?
- What speed of service can I expect at my home?
- What’s the difference between fiber and fixed wireless or other internet options?
As a result, Pittsylvania County is investing $16.5 million in a partnership with RiverStreet Networks for a $75.7 million fiber-to-the-home network expansion that will reach more than 11,985 unserved homes. Many county residents currently have access to some type of substandard internet service, Pittsylvania County leaders understand that fiber – which is the highest standard of internet – is the best option. The $16.5 million investment is coming from the possible places:
- $6.5 million from Pittsylvania County ARPA funds
- $5.5 million from Pittsylvania County Schools ARPA funds
- $4.5 million from Pittsylvania County revenue share
While this project is an unprecedented investment, this does not represent the end of Pittsylvania County’s involvement. In partnership with RiverStreet Networks, Pittsylvania County is committed to leveraging additional state and federal funds, as well as other grant opportunities, to continue expanding internet access across our communities. With this significant investment, Pittsylvania County is also entering into a revenue-sharing agreement with RiverStreet Networks, and all of that revenue will be re-invested into continuing to expand the network.
"This Board of Supervisors understands that reliable and affordable internet access is no longer a luxury; it's a utility that every resident of Pittsylvania County should have available to them. We are committed to expanding access to fiber networks to all of our residents and businesses through every resource at our disposal. Through this significant investment and lasting partnership with RiverStreet, we will continue to leverage other funding opportunities to give more of our community the ability to get online." -Bob Warren, Chairman of the Pittsylvania County Board of Supervisors.
Why RiverStreet Networks
To expand access to reliable internet across our community, Pittsylvania County has partnered with RiverStreet Networks. Pittsylvania County has chosen to partner with RiverStreet Networks in such a substantial way for a few reasons:
Goal of Reaching Unserved
As a company, RiverStreet Networks is focused on delivering the latest and best technology to unserved and underserved rural areas. With a growing network that expands many rural areas in North Carolina and Virginia, RiverStreet's mission of reaching the unserved is perfect for a rural locality like Pittsylvania County.
RiverStreet Networks already has a strong footprint in Pittsylvania County and the surrounding area. After aquiring SCS Broadband, Peoples' Mutual Telephone Company, and Gamewood Technology Group, RiverStreet already provides internet service to a significant portion of Pittsylvania County.
Commitment to Leveraging Funding
Most importantly, RiverStreet Networks is committed, in conjunction with Pittsylvania County and Pittsylvania County Schools, to leveraging our own investments into additional state and federal dollars. This commitment to obtaining as much outside funding as possible is important when expanding into a rural area like Pittsylvania County.
When Will I Have Internet?
The exact timeline and schedule for the network build are still being developed, but RiverStreet Networks plans to have the $75 million project that reaches approximately 11,985 unserved locations completed by the end of 2024. If you are interested in the internet service that RiverStreet Networks has, please visit join.buildpittsylvania.com. Additional updates will be provided in the coming months regarding the exact timeline and mapping.