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Joining Forces to Bring Faster Internet to Pittsylvania, Va!

RiverStreet Networks and Pittsylvania County have partnered together to extend fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) internet access to the unserved and underserved areas of Pittsylvania County. Using capital funds as well as grant funds from Pittsylvania County, the Virginia Telecommunication Initiative (VATI), and the FCC CAF II program, RiverStreet Networks plans to pass just over 14,400 unserved locations over the next several years. 

Since partnering together, RiverStreet Networks has been actively developing plans and purchasing equipment in preparation for this build. We are currently in the middle of the design and implementation phase of the project.

There are multiple phases of this project, with an estimated time frame of two to three years for completion, weather permitting. 

The first phase of this project involves a $75 million dollar fiber-to-the-home network. As part of this project, Pittsylvania County and Pittsylvania County Schools have committed a combined $16.5 million and RiverStreet Networks provided a $19.6 million match. The remaining $39.5 million was awarded in December of 2021 through a grant from the Virginia Telecommunication Initiative (VATI). With this fiber network, RiverStreet Networks is planning to pass 11,985 unserved locations, as defined by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), over the next several years. 

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Our goal is to bring you Fiber service as quickly as possible….

Here’s a glimpse of the prep work that takes place to ensure fiber connectivity to homes and businesses in Pittsylvania County.

The fiber build project breaks Pittsylvania County into eight areas. Each area consists of preliminary steps that must be completed before the fiber build phases can begin. 

The first preliminary step in each area includes surveying, zoning applications, and site preparation. Once this is completed, the design phase can begin. During the design phase, RiverStreet Networks determines pedestal locations, fiber sizing by number of homes, and cost efficiency while future-proofing our network for the growth of Pittsylvania County. Once the design phase is complete, RiverStreet Networks orders the necessary materials and equipment to meet the design criteria for the FTTH construction. Field surveying is also required to provide installation instructions to construction crews. 

Once all preliminary steps are completed, each area in Pittsylvania County will then move into the fiber build phases.

Who is RiverStreet?

For over 70 years, Wilkes Communications and RiverStreet Networks have helped families stay connected with loved ones and the world around them. What started as a residential telephone cooperative based in Wilkes County, North Carolina, has expanded to become a leading provider of high-speed broadband internet with a focus on serving rural, unserved, and underserved areas. The 2018 acquisitions of People’s Mutual Telephone Company (Gretna, VA) and Gamewood Technology Group (Danville, VA) were the start of our initial presence of RiverStreet Networks in Virginia. Our People’s Mutual networks service area includes Gretna, Hurt, Renan, and our Sandy Level exchange in Pittsylvania County. Our Gamewood Technology Group coverage area consists of the City of Danville and parts of Pittsylvania County, as well as other parts of rural Virginia. The combination of these companies and our most recent acquisition of SCS Broadband in 2021, has allowed us to expand our relationship in Pittsylvania County and help us to achieve our mutual goal of providing more rural communities with broadband connectivity. Demand for high-speed broadband has never been greater. This partnership and landmark project will help lift up and improve service in countless households in unserved areas. Our hope is that through this project, we can bridge the digital divide and keep rural communities competitive and vibrant throughout Pittsylvania County and rural Virginia as well.

About Pittsylvania County

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.

As a result, Pittsylvania County and Pittsylvania County Schools are investing a combined $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. While 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. 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.