WAYNESBORO, VA – February 12, 2010. NTELOS Holding Corp. (NASDAQ:NTLS, news, filings), a leading provider of wireless and wireline communications services (branded as NTELOS) in Virginia and West Virginia, is pleased to announce that it will be able to accept a $16 million federal broadband stimulus award to bring much-needed broadband services and infrastructure to un-served and underserved households, businesses, and community facilities in the Alleghany Highlands of Virginia. The award, which requires NTELOS to match the $8 million federal grant, enables NTELOS to build a "future proof" fiber optic network to serve the needs of
Alleghany citizens for decades to come.
In making the announcement, Frank Berry, President of NTELOS Wireline said, "The Alleghany Now Broadband Initiative will bring high-speed fiber optics directly to 4,000+ homes and approximately 233 businesses and 36 community anchor institutions, public safety entities, and critical community organizations. This initiative will directly employ over 40 people and will create over 100 jobs. We are especially grateful to Representatives Rick Boucher and Bob Goodlatte for their early endorsement and letters
of support. The award represents great confidence in NTELOS’ expertise to deliver a network solution to serve the needs of Alleghany for decades to come. We have not only the engineering, operations, and procurement plans in place but also the people, processes and systems to deploy and manage the project and deliver state-of-the-art services."
NTELOS is the only Virginia company to receive a federal stimulus award thus far from the Rural Utilities Service 50/50 program under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. In praising Virginia’s elected officials, including Governor McDonnell’s administration, for economic foresight, Berry said, “NTELOS is grateful for Virginia’s tremendous executive and legislative leadership in making jobs their number one priority and in creating economic opportunities through infrastructure investments in rural Virginia."
Berry’s announcement occurred shortly after the Virginia House of Delegates Committee on Commerce and Labor put forward HB 387 in a form that enabled NTELOS to accept the award and to fund its $8 million portion of the broadband investment. Berry lauded the leadership of Committee Chair Terry Kilgore, Committee Member Ben Cline, and the public advocacy of Delegates Don Merricks and Ward Armstrong in reaching a solution, as well as the local support of Delegate Steve Landes. “In October, long before HB 387, NTELOS submitted Alleghany Now Broadband Initiative for stimulus funding with no idea that our ability to make significant capital investments might be impaired by Virginia legislation. We are grateful for our Delegates’ leadership in ensuring
that the version passed by the Committee satisfied the concerns of the long distance companies but would not stand in the way of job creation and economic development."
Legislation introduced in the Labor and Commerce Committee in January would have slashed millions in revenue that small telephone companies collect from long-distance carriers using their networks to complete calls. Leaders in the Alleghany Highlands, including Delegate James Shuler, expressed heartfelt concerns that their one chance to build a fiber optic broadband infrastructure was imperiled. Alleghany Highlands Economic Development Corporation, Covington City Council, Alleghany Highlands Chamber of Commerce, Alleghany County Board of Supervisors, Clifton Forge Town Council, Alleghany Highlands Free Clinic, Dabney S. Lancaster Community College, and MeadWestvaco were among numerous organizations, businesses and community leaders who took quick action to alert the Delegates about the impact this legislation would have on Alleghany Highlands’ ability to compete in the 21st century.
David Kleppinger, executive director of the Alleghany Highlands Economic Development Corporation expressed excitement that “NTELOS stepped boldly forward and successfully obtained the grant ($8 million) and loan ($8 million) funds necessary to build a last mile fiber network throughout the Alleghany Highlands. This infrastructure is absolutely critical to the economic future of the Alleghany Highlands."
Long-term benefits that will accrue through NTELOS' Alleghany Broadband Now initiative include:
- enabling home-based jobs for disabled or disadvantaged citizens who may be limited in their ability to leave their homes
- enabling home-based jobs for those who cannot find local employment in the county's business base
- enabling home-based job training to help workers learn new occupations
- fostering job-creating economic development by attracting new businesses and employees that require access to robust broadband Internet, data and video services
- supporting the requirements for today's and tomorrow's telemedicine capabilities - both in-home and at medical facilities - that cost-effectively provide the kind of health care currently not attainable to residents of Alleghany County
- improving education opportunities for children by enabling broadband communications for homes and educational facilities
- improving communication capabilities of public safety personnel and facilities
The proposed service area is comprised of a majority of Alleghany County, Virginia, minus the city of Covington and the towns of Clifton Forge and Iron Gate, which are already classified as "served" by the federal stimulus guidelines. The proposed service area will serve a population of almost 9,200 residents in an estimated 4,216 households. While a portion of these already have access to broadband services, the new very high-speed fiber-based services provided with this $16 million initiative will enable more cost-effective and secure communications, including video and non-Internet data services using Fiber-to-the-Premises (FTTP) technology. The tremendous bandwidth capacity of the proposed last-mile fiber network will be able to support future high -bandwidth applications and services for decades to come.
NTELOS Holdings Corp. is an integrated communications provider with headquarters in Waynesboro, VA. NTELOS provides products and services to customers in Virginia, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, Ohio, Tennessee, Maryland and North Carolina, including wireless phone service, local and long distance telephone services, high capacity transport, data and voice services for Internet access and wide area networking and IPTV -based video services. Detailed information about NTELOS is available at www.ntelos.com.
Director, Media and Public Relations