LYNCHBURG — Nelson County residents will be able to weigh in on the Nelson County Broadband Authority’s proposal to remove discounting and amortization of non-recurring charges on plans for residents connecting to the internet through SCS Broadband and Nelson Cable.
A Dec. 11 public hearing also will address how providers lease unused broadband fibers from the authority, which stopped allowing the leasing in 2016.
The authority currently allows residents to pay the installation fee over the course of 12, 24, 36, 48 or 60 months and get discounts for signing up for longer payment plans. The authority has proposed that residents pay the full cost of installation as a one-time charge when service is installed and the discount be eliminated.
The authority determines internet installation fees, charging customers a variety of rates based on where residents live. It would not disclose installation rates last week. Susan Rorrer, Nelson County system information director, said in an email that the installation fee is based on a quote from an outside plant contractor. An outside plant contractor is the one who installs the fiber.
From 2012 to 2016, internet service providers in Nelson County were allowed to lease unused fiber, called dark fiber, from the authority to serve customers. The lease of the dark fiber allowed service providers a more cost-effective way to provide internet access to customers. The leasing option ended when the authority became concerned the service was being used outside of Nelson County.
Joe Lee McClellan, Nelson Cable owner, said he is in full support of renewing the dark fiber lease option for service providers in the county.
“We have been trying to get this for two years now. By leasing dark fiber, we can lower our cost,” McClellan said.
On Sept. 11 the authority voted 5-0 to reinstitute dark fiber leasing availability to service providers provided that it only be used for Nelson County customers. The authority also changed the lease agreement available to service providers from no less than five years to no less than one but no more than two years in order to avoid long term commitments.
“The NCBA felt that it was important to utilize the network to provide service within the County rather than having carriers utilize it to transport data through the county to other parts of the state,” Rorrer said in an email.
Stephen Carter, Nelson’s county administrator, said a public hearing must be held on both changes before a decision can be made.
“The public hearing formalizes the decision by the board in accordance with state law,” Carter said.
The public hearing will be at 2 p.m. Dec. 11 at the courthouse in Lovingston.