Surry Editorial

To the Editor, The Smithfield Times

228 Main St.

Smithfield, VA 23431

Dear Sir,

SCS Broadband (SCS) would like to repudiate misleading information in the Smithfield Times article titled “Broadband is Elusive.”

The first part of the article makes this claim: “A year ago, Surry County residents seemed poised to begin receiving wireless internet service from SCS. So far, that hasn’t happened…” SCS was obligated under the an EDA grant agreement to have the first tower operational by December 31, 2017, 5 months ago, not a year. The article also states that Surry’s industrial park tower was thought to be the only tower needed for all the County. This was never the case. Just like cellular phone service, broadband wireless requires multiple towers.

SCS set out to work with 380 Communications to mitigate any issues. After meeting with owners, SCS felt that the best direction was to purchase the assets of 380 Communication and hire one of the owners as a regional manager. During this negotiation period, SCS could not deploy in the competitor’s territory, a standard negotiating practice. This caused a 4 month delay off the first tower until negotiations ended on April 20th with a rejection letter from 380.

The local provider, 380 Communications, is quoted that there will be interference between our equipment. This is totally false. SCS is deploying licensed LTE, a completely different frequency. The ISP 380 Communications does not have an LTE license, nor can they get one from the FCC.

The article portrays 2 of the 11 counties in bad light to discredit SCS. There is no mention of the 8 counties where SCS has been extremely successful. The article claims that SCS was part of the tower design for the Charles City County project. SCS had nothing to do with the tower selection or location of those towers. SCS has invested heavily to do as much as, including investing in gig fiber and leasing commercial towers, as well as lowering fiber costs to many businesses by as much as 60%. The article claims that SCS listed Fluvanna County as a partner on the SCS website. This is false; the SCS website explicitly states we do not have service within Fluvanna.

As proof of our commitment to Surry County, SCS has now signed five-year contracts for multiple fiber backhauls, as well as for a second 300’ tower. That tower will serve many citizens, including Supervisor Lyttle, who is quoted in the article. SCS has identified eleven possible towers with which to build the best possible service network in Surry. These can be seen at where any citizen can track the project as it matures. This maturation takes time due to tower leasing processes and physical work in loading towers. These represent a long term, high cost commitment to help as many Surry County residences as technically possible to obtain true high-speed internet services.

Any negative articles, especially ones with such incorrect information, is hurting deployments of broadband by reducing financial opportunities for companies like SCS. Citizens and government need to get behind the rare companies trying to do something while no one else is doing anything.

Additionally, this project, represents the commitment of the Surry County Board of Supervisors to help solve the rural digital divide as the best technology available at lower rates.


Clay Stewart