Gloucester County sees broadband expansion, 133 homes soon gain access

"The Wi-Fi in Gloucester County does need improvement."
Posted at 6:32 PM, Oct 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-19 19:05:55-04

GLOUCESTER COUNTY, Va. - Big changes are underway in Gloucester County. Broadband access is on its way. The approval comes after years of families trying to access reliable Wi-Fi and Internet.

Christine Mcfall, a soon-to-be broadband user said, "The Wi-Fi in Gloucester County does need improvement."

Mcfall is just one of the many residents who come to Gloucester County library to get faster internet service. One of the issues she faces is connecting with her family.

Mcfall tells News 3, getting on Skype with her children was hard and so she had to come to the library to do it, but the internet was still "shaky". She said there's still a lot of room for improvement.

Last year Gloucester County Public schools used school buses that had Wi-Fi on them to help students with their studies. Now 15% of families are still without reliable broadband access.

"I've heard many sad stories. I've heard about people who wanted to telework, who were supposed to telework and they could not do it. Some people even threatened that they will have to leave Gloucester County and move in another area," Carol Steele, Gloucester County Administrator said.

With the spotty internet the county has been dealing with, what they will now see soon is a fixed wireless system.

"Most people don't think about a water tower when they think about needed broadband. We're taking fiber to our tower and then we will be putting a tripod up there that will have our antenna system that will distribute to the fiber signals to homes and businesses," said Steele.

County officials said 133 homes in rural parts of the county will be the first to have access in the next year.

"We knew that for equity and for advancement, being economically valuable in a community we had to have it, but the pandemic proved it," said Steele.

Tuesday the Gloucester County Board of Supervisors will sign documentation on broadband expansion. $2 million in funding will come from the American Rescue Plan Act.