Press Release: Sunset Digital Communications Receives VCEDA Loan to Expand Broadband in Southwest Virginia
October 28, 2015
(Duffield, VA)—For more than a decade, Sunset Digital Communications has been making the dream of fiber to the home a possibility for thousands in rural Southwest Virginia and Tennessee. Now, through a new loan by the Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority (VCEDA), Sunset will be able to deploy broadband to hundreds more.
The company just closed on a $450,000 loan with VCEDA to expand its network in its Virginia territory that includes Lee, Scott and Wise Counties and the City of Norton.
“Bringing broadband to rural areas can be a significant boost to the economy,” explains Sunset Digital President Paul Elswick. “We’ll create jobs through the additional staff we will hire to install the lines, but also when residents in rural areas have high-speed internet, it opens up a new world for them through access to education, work-from-home possibilities and more. It’s really the great equalizer for many in rural areas.”
VCEDA is a regional economic development organization created by Virginia’s General Assembly to enhance and diversify the economic base of the seven-county, one city, coal-producing region in Southwest Virginia.
The region includes Lee, Wise, Scott, Buchanan, Russell, Tazewell and Dickenson Counties and the city of Norton.
“We promote this area as Virginia’s e-Region, with a focus on electronic information technology, energy, education and emerging technologies,” says Ron McCall, VCEDA Chairman. “Sunset’s plans to connect more residents and businesses to high-speed internet further enhance our region’s electronic attractiveness to new and expanded businesses to make the decision to locate here.”
McCall says VCEDA has approved more than $4 million in funding to help develop the comprehensive broadband and wireless networks in the region.
VCEDA is able to issue these low-interest loans through a portion of the taxes paid by the coal and natural gas industries. Financing is based in part upon the number of new jobs being created, amount of private investment and wage rates that will be offered by the company receiving the loan.
As far as a timeline for customers to be connected, Elswick says his company will get to work soon as they already have hundreds of people on the waiting list in Virginia.
“It’s not a simple matter of flipping a switch,” Elswick says. “Lines have to be built to their homes from the existing backbone. But we’ve been doing that for more than a decade and will work efficiently and quickly to get customers connected as soon as we can.”
About Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority and Virginia’s e-Region: The Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority, created by the Virginia General Assembly in 1988 to enhance and diversify the region’s economy and help create jobs, markets Virginia’s e-Region and its focus on electronic information technology, energy, education and emerging technologies. Governed by a 16-member board, VCEDA is a unique economic development organization that manages funds for economic development projects from a percentage of the coal and gas severance taxes paid by coal and gas companies that operate in the region. Located in Southwestern Virginia, the region includes Buchanan, Dickenson, Lee, Russell, Scott, Tazewell and Wise counties and the City of Norton. www.vaceda.org or www.e-Region.org.
About Sunset Digital Communications
Sunset Digital is a next-generation fiber-optic services company based in Duffield, Virginia, that provides broadband internet, private data, fiber-optic TV, telephone to residents, businesses, medical facilities, banks and other internet service providers. Sunset also has a branch office in Kingsport, Tennessee, with additional offices planned for Danville, Virginia, and Tazewell, Tennessee.
Sunset Digital designs, constructs and operates next-generation Fiber-to-the-Premises networks that provide private connectivity, internet and entertainment services to business, educational and residential customers in Tennessee and Virginia. As a Tier II Gig-to-the-Home internet provider, Sunset provides direct access to all major content providers. Sunset’s Converged Packet Optical network carries the majority of the regional bandwidth for carriers and retail customers alike, providing continuous scalability and high availability at a low cost. For more information, visit www.sunset-fiber.com.