By Adam Pack
The Greenbrier County Commission met for a special meeting on Thursday, July 6 at 9 a.m. to discuss necessary changes to the recently approved Management and Operations Agreement between the county and Citynet. The agreement, which originally included the installation of 244 strands of fiber optic high speed internet cable, had to be adjusted due to the cancellation of the building of a “middle mile of Beckley to Greenbrier County.” A middle mile, often used in broadband connectivity parlance, is the physical midsection of the infrastructure required to enable internet connectivity. Under the original M&O Agreement, Citynet would have built this portion connecting Beckley to the county, but instead the connection will come from leasing already existing lines from another company. Britt Ludwig, negotiating the agreement as legal counsel for the County Commission, explained that this represents a “considerable decrease in the amount of fiber optic strands” needed to complete the project, but that “no one who would have been served under the old agreement would lose their opportunity for service,” and that this new agreement will “require a significantly lower financial contribution from the county; it’s not as if we’re getting less and paying the same amount.”
With Ludwig’s summation of the changes to the agreement explained, the commission moved to approve the amended M&O Agreement, and were pleased that “we’re getting this project moved along” and hope that it will go out to bid by the end of this year.