Four new public WiFi spots are now operational in Southwest Virginia. The hotspots, a project of the Cumberland Plateau Company and its operating partner Point Broadband, are strategically located near popular areas where citizens tend to gather.

The four WiFi spots include downtown Tazewell in Tazewell County; the Verner Blankenship Community Park in Hurley in Buchanan County; downtown Haysi in Dickenson County; and the Lebanon Recreational Center in Russell County.

Powered by Point Broadband, each site includes a 100/50 Mbps connection capable of serving 512 users. The coverage area will depend on the specific placement of the radios and any natural barriers for the WiFi signal, the company said in a press release earlier this month.

Cumberland Plateau Company says there are additional sites being reviewed for consideration. It plans to provide at least two additional locations in each of the four member counties. Plans will be finalized in February and site review and installation will begin in March, the agency said in the prepared statement.

“The Cumberland Plateau Company sees the WiFi hotspots as a relatively inexpensive way to provide broadband services at strategic community locations while Point deploys broadband infrastructure in unserved and underserved communities,” Steve Breeding, chair of the CPC, said.

“The partnership between CPC and Point is unique,” Jim Baldwin, executive director of the Cumberland Plateau Company, added. “A percentage of the gross revenues of the four-county network come back to the CPC to reinvest in other telecommunications projects such as the WiFi hotspots initiative. These revenues can also be reinvested in local economic development projects through our CProp Program. Recent CProp awards include the Russell Theater Renovation Project in Lebanon, the Richardson Building Renovation Project in Grundy, and the Fincastle Restaurant Renovation Project in Bluefield. A project in Dickenson County is pending.”

In today’s technology-driven age, access to high-speed broadband and wireless internet technology is essential to continued economic development and growth. That’s why we applaud the news of the new public WiFi spots. The deployment of these hotspots is another tool that can be used to help with attracting additional small business growth in the area.

 

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