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Sunset Digital planning wireless service to accelerate broadband access

October 12, 2017

(Duffield, Va.) – As Sunset Digital Communications prepares to finalize its $50 million acquisition of Bristol Virginia Utilities’ OptiNet, the company has announced a plan to accelerate broadband access to rural communities via wireless hotspots they term ‘SunSpots’. The initiative is aligned with the Congressional Rural Broadband Caucus that has urged President Trump to accelerate broadband access for rural America.

“Our mission has always been to bring the benefits of broadband access to rural communities,” says Sunset Digital’s founder, Paul Elswick. “We are technology neutral in how we achieve that mission but we are committed to our mission of being a source for accelerating broadband access.” Sunset expects to finalize the purchase of OptiNet during the fourth quarter of this year and go to work immediately to connect new customers to its fiber network and serve some communities with SunSpot wireless technology while waiting for fiber hook ups. The Congressional Broadband Caucus reports that half of Americans do not have access to reliable broadband or cellular service because they live in a rural area.

Co-founder Ryan Elswick explained, “We call it our Daniel Boone pioneering method. Ultimately every home, business, and government office will need fiber and the capacity, security, and reliability it provides. The SunSpot wireless can lead the way to alleviate some immediate needs of the individual. We have heard from many people about their need for connectivity for their kids for school, to apply for jobs, or even stay in touch with loved ones. Some of these people have places to go while they wait for fiber to connect their home or business like the library or a coffee shop. Many do not, and that is what this will provide.”

Sunset plans to install up to 20 SunSpots over the next year. The SunSpots would be located to provide a Wi-Fi signal to the most number of users within reach of the wireless signal, such as a downtown area, a community park or popular tourist site such as eco-tourism facilities. Eco-tourism is one of the State’s initiatives for boosting the Southwest Virginia economy. By offering broadband service to tourist sites, visitors will have another reason to visit and extend their stay.

Sunset is in the process of identifying communities where customer interest indicates they would be ideal for fiber expansion and strategic locations for SunSpot wireless systems. Sunset Digital intends to connect tens of thousands of customers to its fiber network over the next five years within Tazewell, Buchanan, Dickenson, Russell, Bland, Wythe, Smyth, and Washington counties and thousands more within its existing service areas of Wise, Scott, and Lee counties and the cities of Bristol and Norton.

Sunset Digital will seek to partner with public entities for additional grants from the Virginia Tobacco Commission, or Federal and State agencies aligned with infrastructure funding for rural broadband access through its partnerships with regional economic development groups to accelerate quality fiber connections even further. “Sunset Digital supports the worthwhile mission of the Virginia Tobacco Commission and the Congressional Rural Broadband Caucus,” says Ryan Elswick. “We are proving it with our Fiber-to-the-Premises expansion plan and our new SunSpots wireless plan.”

“I believe that our acquisition of OptiNet, and our accelerated plan for connecting Southwest Virginia to almost limitless bandwidth via fiber, are the most important events of the past 50 years in sparking our local economy,” says Paul Elswick. “We will connect residents and businesses to fiber as quickly as we can, and supplement our service with our SunSpots in the near term”.

Those interested in suggesting a location for a SunSpot in their community can call (877) 318-6368 or go online to

About Sunset Digital Communications, Inc.
Sunset Digital is a next-generation fiber-optic services company based in Duffield, Va., that provides broadband Internet, private data, fiber-optic TV, telephone to residents, businesses, medical facilities, banks, and other Internet service providers. Sunset also has branch offices in Kingsport and Tazewell, Tenn.

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 also direct-peers with all major Internet content providers and hosts content servers locally for full and fast data availability. 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, please visit

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