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Broadband Technologies Opportunities Program (BTOP)

On July 31, 2013, Citizens Telephone Cooperative, Inc. (Citizens) announced the completion of construction on its BTOP (Broadband Technologies Opportunities Program) CCI (Comprehensive Community Infrastructure) Project. The $11.5 million project, titled New River Valley – Regional Open Access Network (NRV-ROAN), was completed on schedule and on budget. The completed project placed 200 miles of fiber with the purpose of providing broadband access for economic development, research, education, emergency response, and health care. The NRV-ROAN is a collaboration between Citizens and the New River Valley Network Wireless Authority (NRVNWA), which received a $9.2 million grant under the Broadband Technologies Opportunities Program (BTOP) by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) and a $396,622 grant by the Virginia Tobacco Commission for this project.

The NRV-ROAN project meets the needs of many community anchor institutions in the New River Valley region of Virginia who have previously reported being unable to access high-speed, affordable broadband services. “This ‘middle-mile’ project covers a seven-county region including Wythe, Pulaski, Floyd, Giles, Montgomery, Roanoke and Botetourt Counties. The 200 Gbps network addition includes eight primary interconnection points that are strategically positioned to provide service to unserved and/or undeserved areas and to tie into other open access fiber networks. “This network allows wireless and other internet service providers to offer broadband to areas where service was previously unavailable, or areas that were determined to be economically infeasible.” said Dennis Reece, COO & Assistant General Manager of Citizens.

Because of this new expansion, more than 50 Community Anchor Institutions (CAIs) including Virginia Tech, Radford University, New River Community College, local high schools, public safety entities, health-care facilities and government facilities, now have access to symmetrical speeds between 5Mbps and 10Gbps (10,000Mbps). To date, 39 Community Anchor Institutions (CAIs) and nine businesses have been connected as a result of this project.

The NRV-ROAN, along with Citizens’ existing Open Access Fiber Network, extends over 438 miles and spans ten counties (Roanoke, Montgomery, Wythe, Pulaski, Floyd, Giles, Botetourt, Patrick, Carroll, Grayson), ten towns (Blacksburg, Christiansburg, Wytheville, Floyd, Pulaski, Dublin, Hillsville, Independence, Stuart, Pearisburg), and three cities (Salem, Radford, and Galax). This combined network passes by or through more than a dozen industrial parks and multiple small business incubators.

Citizens is a member-owned telephone cooperative headquartered in the Floyd, Virginia, providing communication services within the region since 1914. For more information about Citizens and the services offered, visit at citizens.coop. Click Here to download a pdf of this release.