Getting high-speed Internet access is an issue in some parts of the Valley, but a $2-million project in Page County could change that.
With a grant, Page County will lay down a 39-mile fiber network. Through the federal stimulus package, $1.6 million will come to the county to pay for the project. The county will chip in about $412,000.
The fiber network will directly connect 29 sites including schools, libraries, health care facilities and emergency response organizations.
Officials say, once the project is completed, it will become easier for Internet service providers to reach more homes. County officials say they have a goal of every home having access to high-speed Internet.
Lois Shaffer, manager at Page One Thrift Store, looks just about anywhere for a decent Internet connection. She's one of many people in Page County with a dial-up connection at home.
"A lot of times it'll disconnect. I have to re-call. [I have] problems with my password," says Shaffer.
She says she's been on a waiting list for more than two years to get a high-speed Internet connection.
County officials say access has also been an issue when businesses look into moving here.
Bernie Miller chairs the Page County Broadband Authority.
"Well, I believe that the industry will see that we are a business community, and that we will have Internet available to them at probably almost any capacity that they'll desire," says Miller.
Stanley Fire Chief Terry Pettit says broadband will improve emergency response times and quality.
"Once we monitor the patient and realize the patient may be having a heart attack, that information can be sent directly to the local hospital. A doctor can read it and get right back to us within seconds," says Pettit.
Construction is expected to start in 90 days.
The first phase will connect Luray to Page County High School. Officials say it will take at least two years to finish building all phases of the project.