Firefly Fiber Broadband wins funding auction

Press Release

Central Virginia Services, Inc. (CVSI), which does business as Firefly Fiber Broadband, has been awarded $28 million in funding to be paid out over the next 10 years from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to offset the cost of making available voice-over IP (VOIP) phone service and gigabit speed broadband to almost 11,000 rural homes and businesses in central Virginia. CVSI is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Central Virginia Electric Cooperative (CVEC).

The Connect America Fund (CAF) is an incentive program offered by the FCC to facilitate the deployment of voice and broadband communications systems in all of America’s rural communities. With a 10-year program plan and a budget to award $198 million annually, the Commission will disburse a total of $1.98 billion to Connect America Fund (CAF) applicants over the next decade. The FCC has compared the CAF to other development programs over the last century, stating on its website, “CAF is a multi-year program, comparable to extending electricity and phone service to rural America early in the 20th century, and building the interstate highway system in the 1950s and ‘60s.”

CVEC is building the fiber in order to expand smart grid applications across its electric system. Firefly Fiber Broadband will offer gigabit level service and phone service over the fiber optic network, using laser light and glass cable to deliver world-class high speed service to the rural countryside. Within the CVEC electric territory, Firefly will lease the CVEC fiber optic network and make service available to all 37,000 homes and businesses. The CAF money provides support targeted to help offset the cost of making internet service available to some of that area. The CAF award also includes funding for some areas outside of the CVEC electric territory; Firefly will build its own fiber optic network to make service available to up to 4,000 locations in these areas.

The build-out to all locations in the areas for which CAF awards were received must be completed by 2024. Updates on project and construction plans can be found on the Firefly website at
“Eighty years ago, CVEC members joined together to bring electrification to rural central Virginia,” said Firefly and CVEC President Gary Wood. “Today, we are committing to overcome the digital communications divide for the very same reasons, and funds from the CAF will help us reach this goal, improving the quality of life and providing economic opportunities for central Virginia’s rural citizens.”

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