Firefly project moves forward in Cumberland County

Published 7:45 am Tuesday, August 1, 2023

We’re making progress. That’s the news this week from Firefly Broadband, as the company continues to work on the fiber project in Cumberland County. 

The project has been a key focus for residents. In July, Cumberland officials looked over the data from the Comprehensive Plan surveys, which are open for residents to participate in through September. One of the main concerns was for broadband access which is currently underway throughout the county as 99% of residents singled it out in their survey.

The work for this project started last year for companies like Kinex and Firefly to start laying down fiber and start connecting residents in Cumberland and surrounding companies. Multiple grants have funded the project which is scheduled to take place through the winter. Once finished, any resident can get connected once the fiber passes by their home and business. 

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With all this anticipation the question is where is the project now?

Firefly broadband progress

According to Marci Malinowski, the digital marketing coordinator with Firefly Broadband, the fiber project is making great progress in Cumberland. As the project continues, different areas will see different progress as Firefly is partnering with a few companies to make this happen.

Those serviced under the Central Virginia Electrical Cooperative (CVEC) are already connected and can sign up at any time. 

Those under Dominion Energy in the northern part of the county are expected to be connected in the fall. This is part of the Virginia Telecommunication Initiative (VATI) grant-funded project meaning that they have a few extra steps to get folks connected. Currently, they have finished the network construction. Now, Firefly has released the contractor to place service drops or extensions to allow final connections. 

“We have also completed the initial work on our USDA ReConnect grant-funded project with our communications hut placed and the first fiber extended down along Route 60 toward the village of Cumberland Courthouse,” said Malinowski. “We will begin connecting new accounts in that area over the next few months as well.”

Similar to the survey results, Firefly has also seen the anticipation from Cumberland residents. The county has shown high interest in broadband as Firefly has almost 1,00 accounts connected and two-thirds of the locations passed are electing to get connected too. 

Any delays?

There could be a slight delay as Firefly is seeing several months of backlog of new services waiting for connections across the service area. One cause is due to the 811 contractors not being able to keep up as they work to mark the underground cables correctly before Firefly’s crews can dig to install the fiber. Firefly is working to get these issues addressed in order to keep the timeline on track.

“We will not let these issues deter us from continuing to build our network and assure universal access to affordable and reliable broadband throughout Cumberland and other rural counties,” said Malinowski.