New Kent Charles City Chronicle

News for New Kent County and Charles City County, Virginia | October 30, 2020

New Kent Board of Supervisors enter separate agreements for broadband design services, lease to rent building for county services

By Andre Jones | October 14, 2020 12:34 am

With Internet continuing to be a top priority in New Kent, county leaders have agreed to enter into a contract for broadband engineering design services.

New Kent’s Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a $79,995 service agreement with RiverStreet Networks to create a model to bring a fiber network to the county at Tuesday night’s regularly scheduled meeting.

Through recommendations provided by the New Kent Broadband Advisory Committee, county leaders received information that helped determine that fiber optics would be the best route for all citizens in the county to receive access to the Internet. And while the project and construction is still several years away, RiverStreet Networks have also agreed to find alternative ways to provide access to online services to county residents, which may include assisting with wireless access through county tires.

District 5 Supervisor John Lockwood praised the work by the recently disbanded committee, saying he was excited for the plan.

“It has been proven that a fiber optic network is the longest lasting to provide Internet services,” he said. “I believe this will be the best product for our community.”

The issue of getting citizens reliable Internet in New Kent has been as troublesome in their locality as it has for neighboring Charles City County. While their neighbors to the south were the recipient of a $4 million grant to assist with broadband services, New Kent has been searching for nearly four years to resolve their issues with Internet. Despite a number of proposals and ideas, no plans have come to fruition, making it a frustrating chore to be dealt with by county supervisors.

For now, the engineering agreement will provide local leaders the information to proceed, but under the agreement they will own the rights of those plans and could contract them out to another company other than RiverStreet Networks as part of the construction phase.

New Kent County Administrator Rodney Hathaway commenting that one construction begins, the project will be phased in over a time frame that may span between three and four years. However, he said alternatives for Internet services will be available as the project proceeds.

“There will be fixed wire services that will be provide temporary assistance to help others connect to the Internet,” he commented. “We are looking at everything and that includes other projects that may connect homes to the Internet wirelessly through the use of towers in our county.”

In another action approved unanimously by the board of supervisors, the county will lease a 1,845-square foot building from Rose and Crown LLC to house county employees.

Located at 7941 Chipping Lane and across from the Bridging Communities Career and Technical Center/Rappahannock Community College- New Kent Campus, Hathaway proposed that the vacated building to become the new location for New Kent’s Registrar Office, providing more than 600 additional square feet than its current location inside of . Once that relocation complete, several other offices in New Kent will be relocated. Those areas include General Services, Human Resources, Bay Transit, and CSA. The move will also allow for the expansion of the Social Services department.

“New Kent is growing at a rapid pace,” commented Hathaway. “I feel that this move will help those departments and continue to assist the residents of New Kent County with all the services they need.”

The lease agreement is for a 10-year period, with rent for the first five years at $1,800 per month. The final five years will see rent at a rate of $2,000 per month.