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September 11, 2019

Supervisors poised to OK $1.7 million for broadband

Warrenton’s water tower — along with structures in Bealeton, Catlett and Calverton — will get new antennae under the county plan.
You’ve got kids piling into a van with their mom and dad at 4:30 every night and going to McDonald’s or Panera to get a broadband connection so they can do their homework.
— Supervisor Rick Gerhardt
By .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Staff Journalist
Under a far-reaching proposal, Fauquier County would pay a Florida-based company up to $1.7 million to provide broadband internet to some of the community’s unserved and underserved areas.

The board of supervisors on Thursday expects to approve a 12-page agreement with Data Stream Mobile Technologies Inc. of Fort Lauderdale that initially calls for the company to mount transmission equipment on up to seven towers. They include:

• Warrenton’s water tower along North Fourth Street.

• Three telecommunications towers near Warrenton.

• Fauquier County Water and Sanitation Authority’s water tower at Catlett.

• WSA’s water tower or a telecommunications tower at Bealeton.

• A telecommunications tower near Calverton.

The “memorandum of understanding” requires Data Stream to begin providing service from four towers by year’s end and from three more by March 31.

> Document at bottom of story.

Data Stream recently began negotiations to gain access to some of the towers, said Supervisor Rick Gerhardt (Cedar Run District), the board’s most vocal broadband proponent.

“They’ve sprung into action,” Mr. Gerhardt said of Data Stream. “They’ve been advised that (the proposed agreement) is a go. It’s on the (board of supervisors’) consent agenda Thursday” for approval.

“They are already in lease negotiations for the four towers that are on the table by the end of the year.”

The agreement also provides for connecting up eight more, unspecified towers in Fauquier.

Fauquier would use money in the county’s capital improvement plan dedicated for broadband to fund the nearly $2.3-million proposal. The five-year CIP includes $20.7 million for broadband expenses.

Through Fauquier’s Economic Development Authority, the county would pay Data Stream up to $235,000 per tower to purchase transmission equipment.

Data Stream would own the equipment, but Fauquier would put liens on it, should the agreement at some point dissolve.

That would allow Fauquier to enlist another broadband provider to continue service without interruption, explained Mr. Gerhardt, who helped negotiate the memorandum of understanding.

The county also would pay Data Stream up to $10,000 per month through Dec. 31, 2020, to cover the cost of company “personnel solely dedicated to” serving Fauquier County, the agreement states.

As part of the agreement, the county would get 20 percent of subscriber fees the company collects from customers.

“It’s unknown right now”’ how much Fauquier potentially would receive in subscriber fees, Mr. Gerhardt said.

The agreement states Fauquier will help Data Stream locate office space for its staff.

Expanded broadband service will produce a range of community benefits, Mr. Gerhardt said.

Among other things, it will allow more workers to telecommute and students to do school work at home instead of at restaurants with WiFi, he said.

“You’ve got kids piling into a van with their mom and dad at 4:30 every night and going to McDonald’s or Panera to get a broadband connection so they can do their homework,” he said.

Broadband access also will allow more Fauquier commuters to work at home, improving their quality of life and easing traffic congestion, Mr. Gerhardt said.

“More and more companies across the country are making provisions to allow employees to telecommute one if not two days a week,” he added.

And, additional broadband access will mean expanded delivery of telehealth care services, Mr. Gerhardt said.

The Data Stream deal could be a watershed moment for Fauquier, he suggested.

“It means the county is finally to the point where we’re making a strong, concerted effort to provide broadband to unserved and underserved areas of the county.”

Contact Don Del Rosso at Don@FauquierNow.com or 540-270-0300.

Broadband Datastream MOU 09... by Fauquier Now on Scribd


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yisoo · September 15, 2019 at 9:36 pm
The glitter dew drops like a few words that have not been thought of yet.
Wait for the other spring to love and stop by. happy wheels run 3
Linda Ward · September 15, 2019 at 10:54 am
MacQ - So are you saying that deforestation has nothing to do with climate change? Read Richard Powers "The Overstory", winner of the Pulitzer Prize, and then tell me I don't know what I'm talking about.

Why do you bother with fiber-optics since you are so smart? You brain power alone must be picking up signals from space.

Thanks for the laugh, now I'll crawl back under my rock.
question everything · September 15, 2019 at 9:14 am
So why is it Supervisor Gerhardt is the only one driving this? What do the “northern supervisors “ have to say?
But he is driving this and as it appears, really took care of his constituency.
With nothing but crickets from the rest of the rural BOS members....
MacQ · September 15, 2019 at 7:29 am
Linda, by the way did you just wake up & crawl out from under a rock? LOL, For one, I have planted more trees on my property (27 acres) than YOU can count. Second I could care less about any perceived property value due lack of a signal from broadband. If you had the ability to read & comprehend you would have seen the part where I suggested fiber optics (due to leaves on the trees) NEVER suggested to cut or prune trees so as to not effect your FAKE climate change theory. Suggestion, read, think & don't just puke out a slight or dig on someone unless you have & know FACTS!
Linda Ward · September 13, 2019 at 10:19 am
Found this article interesting. https://beta.washingtonpost.com/technology/2019/09/13/cities-not-rural-areas-are-real-internet-deserts/

"The digital divide, however, is not exclusively or even most significantly a rural problem. Due to inaccurate coverage maps, it is difficult to know where specifically access is lacking. But we know from regular Census Bureau surveys that three times as many households in urban areas remain unconnected as in rural areas. And regardless of geography, access isn’t the main reason these homes are without Internet service. The vast majority of U.S. homes without broadband service could have it today, but they don’t want it. The real problem is convincing those who are offline of the value of being part of our digital life."
Linda Ward · September 13, 2019 at 9:15 am
nonewtaxes - Sounds very familiar. Federal government at this moment comes to mind.

MacQ - Have never thought of "trees" as being obstacles. Let's see cut down more trees and speed up climate change, or internet for all, such a difficult decision. However, I do agree that something does need to be done.

We're not concerned about the selling price of our home, and if having internet access is all anyone is looking for, then they might want to consider living cheek to cheek with their neighbors for the long term.
nonewtaxes · September 13, 2019 at 7:49 am
This is the government subsidizing a problem that they created.

And they say broadband will pay for itself.

It aint yet. Whenever the news reports on broadband its always more spending more spending more spending.

Aint too long before broadband subsidy becomes another budget expense item.
MacQ · September 13, 2019 at 7:32 am
I would have to agree with farmbum. We have way tooooooo many obstacles in the way to receive any form of acceptable signals. The idea and concept, to me is out dated. Fiber optics is a lot more reliable, unless of course we have a towers all over the place. Absolutely zero benefit from the expenditure proposed & I happen to live in the one of the highest tax based areas of Fauquier. I'd say, go back to the drawing board & come up with something much more advanced to aid ALL TAX PAYERS not just the few. Unfortunately for me, I have satalite service for both TV & internet. We are sick & tired of buffering & no service at all during any form of in-climate weather or the trees happen to have leaves on them. If you haven't guessed by now, I'm not buying off on the proposal regarding broadband.
DonkeyFarmer · September 12, 2019 at 10:59 pm
I paid Comcast $1,000 for them to run a cable about 1,000 feet for me to get internet. I'm happy. They are happy (as far as I know). Shorty after my neighbors all tied into it.

Some places satellite is the only way. This will be reflected in the price of the home.
Georg · September 12, 2019 at 5:37 pm
Having choices is a good thing. Wireless broadband is a better option than satellite broadband which suffers from line of site issues and rain fade. Satellite can also be a pain for anyone needing to do VPN due to the lag.
unimogjohn · September 12, 2019 at 4:07 pm
As usual, our County Government is too late and slow to act. Starlink, by SpaceX, will be available in a few months. Better off to offer homeowners a rebate to the SpaceX service. https://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2019/09/spacex-says-itll-deploy-satellite-broadband-across-us-faster-than-expected/
farmbum · September 12, 2019 at 3:15 pm
Cellular does'nt cut it...
Satellite doesn't cut it...
Cable and Fiber are non-existent....

Placing on Water towers as A START seems to imply WiFi. And here we may have geographics to overcome, line of sight, trees, hills, gullies, man made obstacles.

I'd like to learn more on the technology and reach being proposed.

I say good luck to the BOS. We have fallen way behind in terms of services, internet being the forefront.
Linda Ward · September 12, 2019 at 11:46 am
We've had good luck with Hughes.net. Occasionally there are issues, generally weather related. The price is OK too for 10 GB, don't know if there were more users in the house if it would work. We upload documents and do updates between the hours of 2 - 8 AM.
TFGriffin · September 12, 2019 at 11:24 am
Agree with comments about lack of coverage in Northern sections of the county (e.g., New Baltimore and Broad Run). i hope for support from Mr. Trumbo.
Truepat · September 12, 2019 at 8:11 am
It's obvious that Supervisor Rick Gerhardt (Cedar Run District),is pushing for his constituents, where is Holder Trumbo (Scott District) his constituents represent New Baltimore through the Northern Fauquier County?
question everything · September 12, 2019 at 7:54 am
This seems like a great boost for the town of Warrenton (like they need the extra coverage) and the Cedar Run district. But as Freestate Steve stated, what about the Northern parts of the county? Maybe the northern parts of the county should get tax breaks, since they are not benefiting from the expenditure.
Chris Bailey · September 11, 2019 at 6:38 pm
I don’t see where the New Baltimore area will be served. Access is very spotty out here too.
Freestate Steve · September 11, 2019 at 4:43 pm
What about the Northern parts of the county? And how about adding:
"WHEREAS property values have suffered due to lack of reliable internet"
I have to think that if the county were to approach this from a business perspective that they may find a nice payback in tax revenue when property values increase.

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