Studies indicated that approximately 14% of the County does not have access to Cox Communications, the only broadband provider in the County. Other Internet providers are accessible within the County, including utilizing cell data, but at the current time, Cox is the only Broadband (fast Internet) provider.
Fixed wireless broadband service is an economically feasible way to reach structures throughout the County, including homes that are in remote locations. Signals travel through the air from towers that are connected to the Internet by fiber to small receivers placed at the home or business. The County partnered with Open Broadband, LLC out of North Carolina for the service. The grant will allow Open Broadband to reach unserved residents and businesses utilizing the County’s communication tower near the office of Waste Management on Route 17.
Grant criteria limited the homes that could be reached to 131 homes in Gloucester. The goal of the Broadband Project is for access to be made available throughout Gloucester County. While the Board has allocated $500,000 towards expansion, the balance of funds needed has not been obtained at this time. Several promising sources are being explored. Addresses within the “cones” that don’t have access to Cox Communications in Gloucester or Atlantic Broadband in Mathews County are included in the Fixed Wireless Service Grant.
The County will continue to work with Cox Communications to try and expand their service while also supporting growth of the fixed wireless network. In addition, the County is monitoring the work of SpaceX for their Starlink product - low orbiting satellites to provide broadband – for its potential use in the County.