An agreement between the town and county of Orange allowing the school system’s broadband project to continue through the town’s right-of-way has been finalized.
The agreement was approved unanimously by Orange Town Council, the Orange County Board of Supervisors and the school board.
However, it wasn’t until the county posted a $50,000 escrow set within the document that the town’s mayor signed the agreement. The agreement allows the project’s contractors to work within the town’s right-of-way laying fiber, while also enabling the town to protect its assets.
Crews have been working since May, digging trenches and laying fiber along Route 20 in right-of-way controlled by the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT). However, unlike the rest of the county, where VDOT maintains the right-of-way along the roads, the Town of Orange manages its own roads, making it necessary for the county to get its permission before proceeding with the project.
The contractor, Computer Cabling and Technology Inc. of Harrisonburg, is currently pulling cable along Route 20. The project, funded partially through a federal grant, will establish a 33-mile fiber optics route that will allow the school system to provide reliable and secure internet services for staff and students.
The fiber route will connect the county’s nine schools, including three and the Taylor Education Administration Complex within the Town of Orange. The county, which has partnered with the schools on the project, will leverage the project as part of its rural broadband initiative of making high-speed internet available to all its citizens.