BARC Connects

Bringing you affordable high-speed Internet!

Lexington, VA

Our project will bring lightning fast fiber-optic Internet directly to your home or business.  In addition, we will provide telephone and cable television services over our fiber.  The first phase of the project encompasses 400 miles, with the capability of connecting over 4,000 homes and businesses in Rockbridge and Lexington.  Over the next 7-8 years we plan to build fiber-to-the-home to all of our customers!

We have created this site to determine customer demand for high-speed Internet, phone and/or TV service.  By pre-registering on this site, we will learn about the areas where customer demand is highest, and we we use that information to decide where next to build fiber. 

The future of high-speed Internet is now before us.  You have an opportunity to make a real difference, not only for yourself, but for your community's future.  This project's success or failure, including the expansion to all our members, is predicated on the support of our customer-owners to subscribe to Internet service.

If you are interested in fiber Internet coming to your area, please pre-register today.    

And remember to tell your family, your friends, and your coworkers to BARC if you want broadband!

 

 

This campaign's top zones

1. Lexington: 275% to goal

2. Rockbridge: 106% to goal

1. Lexington: 275% to goal

Goal: 250 backers · Pledged: 689 backers

2. Rockbridge: 106% to goal

Goal: 1,300 backers · Pledged: 1,384 backers

About BARConnects

BARConnects is a wholly-owned subsidiary of BARC Electric Cooperative, delivering ultra high-speed internet, telephone and cable TV services.  BARConnects is modeled on BARC Electric's historic success in bringing electricity to unserved rural America.   

In 1938, a group of local residents, with the dream of electrifying their homes and businesses, formed a not-for-profit cooperative.  Those residents pledged to support the cooperative by taking service as the electric lines were built.

Today, BARC is poised to deliver the modern equivalent to rural electrification - affordable broadband.  But like in 1938, we need the support of those eligible for service to make the business work.  By working as a cooperative, we can do it!

So BARC if you want broadband!

Residential Triple Play (Internet, Telephone and TV)

Residential Triple Play (Internet, Telephone and TV)

Our best overall value, and your "one stop shop" for a bundled service that combines internet, telephone and cable TV at an affordable monthly price.

Included with your package:

  • Ultra high speed internet - your choice of speeds ranging from 25mbps to 1 gigabit per second - plus in-home WiFi at no extra cost.
  • Unlimited local and nationwide long distance calling.
  • Cable TV packages ranging from 120 to 200+ standard and high-definition channels - plus optional features such as DVR rental and premium channels.

 

Residential Double Play (Internet and TV)

Residential Double Play (Internet and TV)

Our double play bundle combines internet and cable TV at an affordable monthly price.

Included with your package:

  • Ultra high speed internet - your choice of speeds ranging from 25mbps to 1 gigabit per second - plus in-home WiFi at no extra cost.
  • Cable TV packages ranging from 120 to 200+ standard and high-definition channels - plus optional features such as DVR rental and premium channels.

Residential Double Play (Internet and Telephone)

Residential Double Play (Internet and Telephone)

Our double play bundle combines internet and telephone at an affordable monthly price.

Included with your package:

  • Ultra high speed internet - your choice of speeds ranging from 25mbps to 1 gigabit per second - plus in-home WiFi at no extra cost.
  • Unlimited local and nationwide long distance calling.

Residential Single Play (Internet Only)

Residential Single Play (Internet Only)

Our internet-only package offers ultra high-speed internet at an affordable monthly price.  You may choose speeds ranging from 25mbps to 1 gigabit per second.  Also includes in-home WiFi at no extra cost.

Commercial Triple Play (Internet, Telephone and TV)

Commercial Triple Play (Internet, Telephone and TV)

Our commercial-grade all-in-one bundled service that combines internet, telephone and cable TV at an affordable monthly price.

Included with your package:

  • Ultra high speed internet - your choice of speeds ranging from 25mbps to 1 gigabit per second - includes WiFi at no extra cost.
  • Unlimited local and nationwide long distance calling - multiple lines and full complement of features available.
  • Cable TV packages ranging from 120 to 200+ standard and high-definition channels - plus optional features such as DVR rental and premium channels.

Commercial Double Play (Internet and TV)

Commercial Double Play (Internet and TV)

Our commercial-grade double-play bundle combines internet and cable TV at an affordable monthly price.

Included with your package:

  • Ultra high speed internet - your choice of speeds ranging from 25mbps to 1 gigabit per second - includes WiFi at no extra cost.
  • Cable TV packages ranging from 120 to 200+ standard and high-definition channels - plus optional features such as DVR rental and premium channels.

Commercial Double Play (Internet and Telephone)

Commercial Double Play (Internet and Telephone)

Our commercial-grade double-play bundle combines internet and telephone at an affordable monthly price.

Included with your package:

  • Ultra high speed internet - your choice of speeds ranging from 25mbps to 1 gigabit per second - includes WiFi at no extra cost.
  • Unlimited local and nationwide long distance calling - multiple lines and full complement of features available.

Commercial Single Play (Internet Only)

Commercial Single Play (Internet Only)

Our commercial-grade internet-only package offers ultra high-speed internet at an affordable monthly price.  You may choose speeds ranging from 25mbps to 1 gigabit per second.  Also includes WiFi at no extra cost.

 

About this Campaign

Our project will bring lightning fast fiber-optic Internet directly to your home or business.  In addition, we will provide telephone and cable television services over our fiber.  The first phase of the project encompasses 400 miles, with the capability of connecting over 4,000 homes and businesses in Rockbridge and Lexington.  Over the next 7-8 years we plan to build fiber-to-the-home to all of our customers!

We have created this site to determine customer demand for high-speed Internet, phone and/or TV service.  By pre-registering on this site, we will learn about the areas where customer demand is highest, and we we use that information to decide where next to build fiber. 

The future of high-speed Internet is now before us.  You have an opportunity to make a real difference, not only for yourself, but for your community's future.  This project's success or failure, including the expansion to all our members, is predicated on the support of our customer-owners to subscribe to Internet service.

If you are interested in fiber Internet coming to your area, please pre-register today.    

And remember to tell your family, your friends, and your coworkers to BARC if you want broadband!

 

 

Here's a list of everyone who has backed this campaign.


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Stephen Kennedy

Lexington
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Jeffrey Baska

Rockbridge
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Curtis Barker

Rockbridge
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Anonymous

Lexington
6722f31f6658f647ec8cde4c676da2ef

Scott McDorman

Rockbridge
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Parke Rouse

Lexington

You Asked, We Answered. More FAQs.

10:33pm July 11, 2017

Question: Does BARC Connects' Internet or cable TV service work with my off-the-shelf device (Roku, TiVo, Apple TV, Xbox, etc.)?

Answer: Yes, these devices will function over our network since they simply require an Internet connection to function.  However, we will not be able to provide technical support on these devices, as we can only support the devices we provide inside the home, such as the Wi-Fi router, DVR and cable set-top boxes.

 

Question: If I move within the two-year commitment period, can I assign my contract to the next tenant/owner?

Answer: Yes, we offer an assignment form that you and the assignee would sign.  The assignee would then assume the remainder of the term of your contract, however, we will allow them to change the services if they choose.  They only need to maintain Internet service for the remainder of the contract term.  But, if they do not sign the assignment form, you would be responsible for paying the contract break fee per the terms of your service agreement.

 

Question: Am I locked into the package I select for the entire two-year period?

Answer: Absolutely not. We want to be as flexible as possible to accomodate your needs. As long as you keep Internet service, you can add or subtract services during the two year period (service call fees may apply). We know our services are going to be all new to you, and we want all our customers to have a superior customer experience. If you take our cable TV service and decide you like your old TV service better, you can cancel it. We're not going to make you keep stuff you don't want. You just have to keep the Internet for two years, and it's going to be so fast you won't want to give it up.

Big First Day for the Pre-Sale

1:42am July 11, 2017

Good evening CrowdFiber supporters!

Wow, what an incredible response we received today.  The support you all have shown today was tremendous!  What a truly exciting time to be embarking on fiber-to-the-home.  We wish to thank everyone who signed up today.  For those who submitted an inquiry and are still awaiting a call back, please rest assured that you will get a free service drop if you sign up for service when a specialist calls you back.  Our fiber project specialists are working as fast as possible to return all calls and emails.  We are trying to return all inquiries within 24-48 hours, so please be patient.

Early Monday morning, we encountered a technical issue with the bundle discounts, but that has been fixed by the site administrators and is functioning properly now.  We apologize to those who were affected by that technical glitch. We also have been made aware of a few customers inside the eligible area whose addresses were not recognized by the site.  We are looking into those cases and will reach out to customers when their address has been fixed or added to the database.  If we have your inquiry and are working to resolve a problem such as this, you will be eligible for the free service drop when a specialist calls you back.

For those who have not yet signed up, the website address to shop and select your package is http://shop.barcconnects.net.  Please continue to let us know if you run into any trouble signing up - you can email us at support@barcconnects.net or call (800) 846-2272.

Onward to day two of the pre-sale!

It's time! Sign up for Internet service before construction begins!

11:35pm July 9, 2017

Good evening CrowdFiber supporters:

Our fiber-to-the-home pre-sale has officially begun!  We offer two convenient ways to sign up for service before construction begins.  For those who wish to self-serve online, head to our Customer Portal at http://shop.barcconnects.net, where you can review our packages and pricing and sign up online.   For those who want to speak with a live person, call (800) 846-2272 and get connected to a specialist who will help you with the order process.  Both options are equally effective at getting you signed up.  One note: the Customer Portal is not yet compatible with mobile phones or tablets.  You must use a desktop or laptop computer in order for the address locator to function properly.

When you visit our Customer Portal, you will be prompted to select your city/locality and then enter your street address.  If your address is recognized as inside the eligible area for phase 1, you will see it appear in a drop-down menu.  Select it and move on.  If your address is not recognized, but you believe you are inside the eligible area, pressing “Go” will take you to an online form where you can submit an inquiry for follow up.  If you are not sure whether you are inside phase 1, visit http://barc.crowdfiber.com to view an interactive map.

You can also browse our Internet, phone and cable TV packages on our website, http://www.barcconnects.net.  Pressing the green “Sign Up Today” button on our website will also take you to the Customer Portal.

Free service drops are limited to the first 1,850 orders for service, with one exception: CrowdFiber supporters who pre-registered on or before January 14, 2017 have until the end July to sign-up for service and receive a free service drop.  As a reminder, in order to complete your order, you must commit to a 2-year contract and prepay the $100 in-home installation charge, either via the secure Customer Portal or over the phone.  The installation charge helps recoup our costs for the fiber technician that will pull the fiber into your home and set up your service.  The two-year commitment will begin when the technician completes the install.

If you have problems or questions using our Customer Portal, please call (800) 846-2272 and speak to a live person.  They will be happy to assist you with your order.  We also want to know about problems with our Customer Portal so that we can quickly address them.  You may also email us at support@barcconnects.net.

For a list of frequently asked questions about the pre-sale, visit http://barc.crowdfiber.com and click on the “Updates” button.

Thank you again for your support all these years!  We are one big step forward to bringing you the world-class Internet service that you deserve!

 

Sign up service starting Monday

6:24pm July 7, 2017

Good evening CrowdFiber supporters!

Just a friendly reminder from the team at BARC Connects that our fiber-to-the-home pre-sale begins Monday.  Don't forget to secure your free service drop by signing up for service before construction begins in August.  Pricing and packages will all be available starting on Monday.  Look for an email from us late Sunday night with the web address.  Have a wonderful weekend!

The BARC Connects Team

Psst...here's a little secret just for our loyal CrowdFiber supporters...the website to sign-up for service will be live when you receive the email Sunday night.  You need not wait until Monday if you want to be first in line.

More Follow Up Q&As

6:43pm June 23, 2017

Good evening CrowdFiber backers.  Several folks have messaged us with a similar question, so this update is going to answer this very important question.  The question goes something like this:

Q: I've been a long-time CrowdFiber supporter and I am committed to signing up for BARC Connects service pretty much as soon as you allow me.  But what if the 1,850 pre-registrations sell out before I have a chance to sign up through your website or phone call?  I thought you were promising me a free drop if I pre-registered on CrowdFiber?

A: In fairness to our longtime supporters (and trust us, we know...some of you have been pre-registered since 2015) here is what we are going to do.  Every CrowdFiber registration is time stamped, which means we can see exactly when a given customer pre-registered for service.  In fact, we can see exactly when we reached 1,850 supporters, in the exact order even!  We officially reached the magic number of 1,850 on or about January 14, 2017.  So here is what we're going to do.  If you were a CrowdFiber supporter on or before January 14, 2017, we will honor the free service drop commitment for the rest of July after the pre-sale begins.  If the free service drops sell out in the first week, and you are unable to sign up before they sell out, as long as our records show that you registered on CrowdFiber before we reached 1,850 supporters (and you're in the eligible area of the project), you'll still be eligible for the free service drop until the end of July.  We want to connect everybody inside phase 1, but we definitely want to make sure that our longest supporters are taken care of.

Here is another question we've received a few times:

Q: I am building a house right now.  Am I eligible for a free drop?

A: The short answer is that it depends.  If you're between Kerr's Creek and Raphine, probably not.  If you're in the Fairfield or Effinger area, we can possibly accomodate you.  The answer has to do with when we expect to be building through your area.  It's best to email us at co-op@barcelectric.com with your specific request and we will work individually with you.

Ok, last frequently asked question for the evening:

Q: I know you require a two year commitment, but am I locked into the package I choose for two years?

A: No!  We want to be as flexible as possible to accomodate your needs.  As long as you keep Internet service, you can add or subtract services during the two year period (service call fees may apply).  We know our services are going to be all new to you, and we want all our customers to have a superior customer experience.  If you take our cable TV service and decide you like your old TV service better, you can cancel it.  We're not going to make you keep stuff you don't want.  You just have to keep the Internet for two years, and it's going to be so fast you won't want to give it up.

Thank you again for the overwhelming support.  July 10th will be here before you know it!  We can't wait!!!

Follow up to pre-sale questions

7:15pm June 21, 2017

With all of the excitement surrounding yesterday's announcement about our July 10 fiber-to-the-home pre-sale, we thought it would be helpful to respond to some questions based on the feedback we've received. Please make sure you read the BARC pages of each issue of Cooperative Living, as it often has updates about the project as well.

Q: What about people outside of phase 1?
A: Phase 1 is really a pilot, meant to test customer interest in high-speed Internet from BARC as well as the assumptions in the business plan. The overall project is actually in three phases to build out our entire service territory with fiber over the next several years. Each phase is designed to have a certain number of free service drops as part of the initial construction for that phase. We plan to largely replicate the process with phase 1 in subsequent phases.

Q: Why did you choose Lexington and Rockbridge County for phase 1?
A: We really want this project to succeed so we can build fiber to all our members, and we studied other cooperatives that have successful projects as part of our due diligence. A consistent trend emerged from that research - cooperatives that started in their most densely populated areas and worked outward had the most success. Logically this makes sense. It is the same reason that phase 1 includes certain non-BARC areas; the subscribers in these areas will counterbalance the lower density parts of our system, and make it possible for us to serve more of our members in the long run.

Q: What if I am outside phase 1 but want fiber Internet now (I don't want to wait for project expansion)?
A: Our project budget is limited to building out the phase 1 area. Customers that are interested in having us extend service outside of the project area can contact us to obtain a quote and pay the cost to extend, but unless you are close to the project area it will likely be very expensive for you. Our advice in those cases is to wait for future expansion phases.

Q: How do I know if I am inside phase 1?
A: We have a website, http://barc.crowdfiber.com, where you can enter your address to determine if you are inside the eligible area. You can also pre-register for service so we have you on our radar screen when we go to expand the project. It doesn't hurt to pre-register even if you are outside phase 1 as there is no commitment.

Q: You said in the post that the average service drop costs $2,000. If I am not part of the first 1,850 free drops, is that what I will have to pay?
A: The short answer is no...that would roughly be our cost, but not yours. We have a line extension policy for eligible customers inside the phase 1 eligible area who miss out on the pre-sale. The extension fee will range between $200-$500 for most cases, which we can amortize over a period of months if needed. For extensions beyond 2,000 feet, it may be higher. We think the line extension policy is pretty reasonable for a fiber-to-the-home build.

If there are additional questions you'd like to see answered in a future Facebook post or Cooperative Living article, please feel free to direct-message us on Facebook, or email us at co-op@barcelectric.com.

Thank you again for supporting our project. As the first electric cooperative in Virginia to be building fiber-to-the-home, we hope to set an example that others will follow. Rural America deserves the same opportunities and quality of life as urban Americans. Electric cooperatives can lead the way in delivering rural broadband, just as we did with electricity 75 years ago.

The Wait is Over!

4:11pm June 20, 2017

We have big news, loyal CrowdFiber backers.  The moment we have all been waiting for is finally upon us…the BARC Connects fiber-to-the-home pre-sale will officially begin on Monday, July 10!  Yes, that is right.  Starting on July 10, you will be able to see pricing, select your Internet, phone, and cable TV packages, officially sign up for service, and secure your free service drop for when construction begins in August.

 

Over the course of July, we will be reaching out to all CrowdFiber backers to help you sign up for service.  For those that prefer to do it online, on July 10 we will open an online customer portal.  Actually, we recommend using the online portal, as it will have product descriptions and information about channel lineups that will aid in your selection process.  But, we would be happy to take your order over the phone when we call, if that is your preferred method.  Stay tuned as time gets closer for an announcement with the web address for the portal.

 

The free service drops are limited in quantity and we strongly encourage you to sign up early.  With over 5,000 homes and businesses eligible for fiber in this first phase of the project, only the first 1,850 service orders will receive a free drop to their home or business.  For those that are not in the first 1,850, a line extension policy will determine the amount of your fee.

 

Our expected average service drop cost in the project area is $2,000 per location, and studies have shown that a fiber drop can add as much as $4,000 to the resale value of your home.  In order to receive a free drop, we require a two-year service commitment (i.e. contract) and a payment of $100 to cover the cost of our technician’s visit to perform the in-home installation.  You must take Internet service, which you can choose to bundle with unlimited local and long distance phone service, and/or cable TV service, if you wish.

 

Fiber construction will begin in early August, and customers who have signed up prior to construction will have their service drop installed as crews build out the network.  The drop will either be overhead or underground - the same type as your BARC Electric service (if you are not a BARC Electric member, it will most likely be underground).  The fiber will terminate at a box on the outside of the house, called a “nid.”  Sometime later, when the fiber is lit and ready for service, one of our technicians will schedule the home install with you.  They will pull the fiber from the nid into your home/business, and connect it to our wireless gateway that will provide you with free WiFi included with your service.  If you signed up for phone or cable TV, our technician will assist with setup of those services as well.  It is our intention to make the setup process as seamless and trouble-free as possible for you.

 

 

We are eagerly preparing for the pre-sale launch on July 10.  We are super excited to kick this off and we hope you are as well!  Ultra-fast fiber-optic Internet is coming soon and we cannot wait to bring it to you.

 

Wireless Gateway Service - Included Free of Charge

9:56am May 30, 2017

A lot has changed with regards to where and how we use the Internet.  In the early days, if you had Internet service, it was hard wired to a single computer in your house, and companies had to install miles of CAT5 cable throughout offices, cubicles and conference rooms.   Then along came wireless networking, commonly known as "WiFi."  What started out at low speeds of 11mbps has progressed over time to be equally as fast as wired connections.  Today, WiFi is everywhere - at the home, office, hotels, and restaurants.  Almost all Internet-enabled devices today require a wireless connection, whether they be smart phones, iPads, laptops or gaming consoles. 

 

We want our customers to have a superior experience using our network.  Thus, most customers will receive a wireless gateway (router) included with their Internet service.*  Our router will do up to gigabit speeds, 2.4Ghz & 5Ghz, NAT, firewall, port translation, family security profiles and a host of other features.  These same devices will support our phone & cable TV service seamlessly alongside our Internet service. 

But most importantly, our wireless routers will be fully supported remotely by our 24x7 technical support team.  If you have a problem with your wireless network or have questions on enabling certain features, our staff will be able to help you over the phone.  Unlike other ISPs, we won't refer you elsewhere for technical support.  We want you to have a seamless and superior customer experience.  This added value comes free of charge, included with your Internet service package.

Residential customers may wonder, “I have my own router, do I have to use yours?”  Our answer is: while you are not required to use ours, we will be unable to troubleshoot wireless connectivity problems or help with configuration.  You may also not achieve the Internet speed you signed up for.  We strongly encourage all eligible customers to take advantage of this added value in your service - the BARC Wireless Gateway Service!  Don’t spend money on a wireless router that may not provide adequate coverage in your home, or have the performance capabilities you need.

*For residential or small business customers that currently have a RANA fiber drop to their premise, we will offer our wireless gateway service for an additional $5 per month.  

 

Message from the new General Manager of BARC Connects

8:31pm May 7, 2017

Hello CrowdFiber subscribers!  Allow me to introduce myself.  My name is Gary Sickler and I'm the new General Manager of BARC Connects.  I have been onboard now for just over 2 months.  It is a pleasure for me to give you an update on the progress we have made since our last update to you in January.  

So what's been going on behind the scenes these past few months?  The answer is a great deal!  We have been very busy pulling together all the pieces necessary to get this fiber project off the ground, including:

-Developing a highly resilient and redundant network design

-Setting up our data center environment

-Partnering with our Internet transit providers for connection to the global Internet

-Obtaining IPv4 & IPv6 public IP blocks

-Finalizing our Internet, voice and video product catalog

-Creating marketing material to advertise our products and services

The main question on everyone's mind right now is "when will I get service?"  We are looking at late summer to begin the fiber construction in the blue and red zones of the project.  Our fiber engineering team is hard at work developing the detailed plans for the fiber build, which includes the time-consumig work of surveying every pole to which fiber will attach.  Once the fiber engineering team has completed the design, and materials are ordered, we will be in a position to start construction.  I expect that the fiber build will start close to our broadband headquarters at Highland Belle and proceed north to Rockbridge Baths and Raphine.  We are also working to hire and train fiber technicians, customer support personnel, and a sales coordinator.  

Around mid-June, we will launch our "Pre-Sale" where those who pre-registered on CrowdFiber will be able to officially sign up for service and secure their free fiber connection.  We are currently building a website that will enable customers to select their services, whether it is just Internet, or a bundled package with phone and/or TV.  When the Pre-Sale begins, we will directly contact all pre-registered customers by phone and email, as well as make many announcements so that everyone who wants world-class Internet service can get it.  If you prefer to sign up over the phone, we will have customer service agents available to answer questions and sign people up.

Finally, even though we will not be in a position to start lighting up customers on our own fiber facilities until the fall, we will be a service provider on the RANA network around mid summer.  Anyone who currently has a RANA fiber drop to their premises will have BARC Connects as an option for their Internet, voice and video needs.  I believe you'll find our prices to be very affordable as well.

I am so excited and humbled to be leading the BARC Connects team!  I know everyone who pre-registered is anxious for us to bring ultra-fast Internet service to their home.  I assure you, it's coming soon!  We are steadfastly focused on delivering to you service that is fast, reliable and affordable, and with great customer service.  Even though we may be a new service provider, it doesn't mean we are an inexperienced one!  Our growing staff have years of experience in this industry and we are committed to delivering to you a superior customer experience. 

I look forward to providing you all with another update again in the near future.  

Best Regards,

Gary Sickler, General Manager

"Make Ready" Work Begins

12:59pm January 19, 2017

At long last, we have cut through all the red tape and field work has begun!  The first step, now underway, is to prepare the electric system for the fiber deployment.  This effort is commonly referred to as "make ready" work.  It entails replacing poles that may be too short, adding new guy wires, and making lots of other adjustments so that BARC's fiber-optic cable can be attached.  We estimate that in phase 1 of the project that about 70 poles need to be replaced and some 250 other adjustments need to be made.  This work will occur over the next 3 months.

Along with the make ready work, the office is aflutter with lots of other broadband-related activities. Our fiber designers are busy preparing the "walk out" network design that fiber contractors will use to build the network when the make ready is complete.  We are finalizing agreements with partner companies for our software and support needs, our voice (telephone) service, our cable TV service, and other services.  We are finalizing our agreeement with RANA, as our network will make broadband, telephone and cable TV available to a large number of customers along the RANA network.  And last, but not least, we are interviewing candidates for the BARC Connects General Manager position - a crucial step to ensure the project stays on schedule throughout this year.  

Looking ahead, we plan to finalize our packages and pricing around April.  Around the May-June timeframe, we expect to begin contacting all of you that have pre-registered on CrowdFiber.  At that time, we will be asking you to formally commit to taking service, select a service package, and provide a non-refundable deposit.  This will lock-in your free fiber connection and ensure that we build your service drop once construction begins.  Remember, the first 1,850 customers who commit to taking service and pay the deposit will receive a free connection.  

For more information about the project, check out the January issue of Cooperative Living Magazine.  There is a cover story about our project and a Q&A with our CEO, Mike Keyser.  If you missed the magazine, feel free to contact our office at (800) 846-2272 and we can email you an electronic copy.

Thank you for your support of our project and we look forward to serving you with ultra high-speed Internet, phone and cable TV later this year!

The BARC Connects Team

How to Pre-Register for Fiber Internet Service

9:59am August 23, 2016

Greetings BARConnects backers!

Yesterday you probably saw an email from us with exciting news that our fiber project is moving forward to construction.  You might also have seen that we expanded the number of available free fiber service drops to 1,850.  In just the past 24 hours, we have already received over a dozen new pre-registrations, so thank you.  As of this writing, we are now at 1,674 pre-registrations (we call them "backers"), which means that only 174 free fiber drops remain!  Once we reach 1,850, additional pre-registrants will be placed on a waiting list pending availability should a backer not sign up for service from BARConnects.

The fact that you are receiving this message means you are already pre-registered.  However, if you have friends or neighbors that are not, and they wish to get lightning-fast fiber Internet from BARConnects, they can pre-register at barc.crowdfiber.com.  They would simply enter their address into the search field, press the "check address" button, and then fill out the pre-registration form.  It's that easy to reserve a free fiber service drop!

If anyone has any questions about the project, the pre-registration process, or anything else, please feel free to email us at BARConnects@BARCElectric.com and we would be happy to respond.   

Thank you and have a wonderful day!

The BARConnects Team

Get Ready for Fiber!

9:51am August 22, 2016

BARC Electric Cooperative (BARC) is moving forward with a $66 million fiber-to-the-home project that will make high speed Internet available to both BARC and non-BARC members over the next 7-8 years.

Millboro, VA: August 17, 2016 – BARC is pleased to announce that its plan to build a Fiber-to-the-Home high speed Internet network is moving ahead.   Last week, BARC’s board of directors approved loan documents, and approval assurances from BARC’s lender have strengthened BARC’s resolve to move forward with this important project.

The first phase of BARC’s system-wide project encompasses over 400 miles of fiber serving over 4,100 homes and business.  “We are very excited that that we are moving forward with the design and construction of Phase 1 of the network,” said BARC CEO Mike Keyser. “I want to thank our CrowdFiber backers for their patience during the development phase."

BARC was created in 1938 to bring electricity to rural Virginia, and the similarities are striking between rural electrification and high speed Internet service.  “Electric cooperatives across the country are poised to lead the way in rural broadband deployment,” continued Keyser. “We are proud to be leading the way in Virginia.  As a not-for-profit, mission-based organization, we are solely focused on serving our customers with broadband just as we did with electricity 75 years ago.”

Construction on the first phase of the project is expected to begin in the next 9 months, with the Cooperative installing over 400 miles of fiber-optic cable that will serve the Cooperative’s own electric system communication needs and make direct fiber access available to the more than 4,100 homes and businesses in the first phase of the project.

Mr. Keyser added more good news:  “We have expanded eligibility for free fiber service drops to the first 1,850 customers who pre-register on our CrowdFiber website and who ultimately take service as a subscriber.  After we reach 1,850 subscribers, subsequent customers will have to pay a connection charge.”

As vendors are selected and agreements reached, BARC will begin contacting its pre-registered customers in the Phase 1 eligible area with details on packages and pricing.  For complete information about the details of the project, visit the project website: http://barc.crowdfiber.com.

About BARC

BARC Electric Cooperative serves more than 13,000 members in Bath, Allegheny, Rockbridge, Highland, and Augusta counties.  BARC is organized as a not-for-profit electric cooperative and has been in continuous operation since its inception in 1938.

For more information, call 1.800.846.2272 or go online at www.barcelectric.com.  

Pre-construction activities continue behind the scenes

1:34pm January 11, 2016

Greetings BARConnects backers!  The new year is upon us and activities continue to occur behind the scenes to bring ultra high-speed Internet to your doorstep.  We appreciate your patience as we work "behind the scenes" to move toward the construction phase as quickly as possible.  Many wheels are in motion.

After reaching our backer goal in late August 2015, we submitted a formal loan application to finance the project with our primary lender, the USDA Rural Utilities Service.  We expected to have approval no later than year end, but to date still have not received it.  Last week, we were informed that our application is still pending their review.  We will continue to keep on top of our application's progress, as we are very eager to get the project underway.  We do have a "Plan B" for financing, but the current route would result in significant benefits to BARC as well as the project itself if we are successful.  

We also are in the process of finalizing our application for state regulatory approval, which we expect to file very soon.  State regulatory approval is also a time-consuming, but necessary, prerequiste to construction.  Once the financing and regulatory approval are both completed, you’ll see more activity in terms of project updates.  

Again, we appreciate your patience and will keep our backers apprised as developments occur.  We fully expect that construction will commence this year after we have successfully cut through all the necessary red tape.

Sincerely,

The BARConnects Team 

We reached our goal!

12:51pm August 25, 2015

Congratulations BARConnects backers, you did it.  Over 1,550 eligible customers expressed interest in having lightning fast Internet brought to their doorstep.  We have successfully completed our CrowdFiber campaign.  The football is now in our hands to run across the goal line, and get this project underway.

Our next critical steps are to secure financing and seek regulatory approval to proceed.  Efforts have already begun in earnest.  We have several lending options to choose from, and will now be finalizing our plans.  

As our timeline for construction solidifies, we will provide more details on when customers and/or project areas can expect service to be available. Starting a major enterprise from the ground up is a time-consuming and Herculean task, and we appreciate your patience as we continue to work toward bringing fiber Internet, telephone and TV directly to your doorstep.

We could not have gotten this far without you.  So thank you again for supporting our project.  Stay tuned for more updates as we move along.

Sincerely,

Michael Keyser

CEO & GM

Friends helping friends

12:39am June 13, 2015

Greetings BARConnects backers!

You will soon be receiving a flyer, frequently asked questions guide, and a registration form in the mail.  We have a humble request for all of our project backers...share these materials with a friend or neighbor who has not signed up as a backer.  Use the FAQ guide as an opportunity to educate friends and neighbors on the benefits to you personally and the community of signing up as a backer.  Explain to them that they are making no commitment, but by signing up they are helping support others in the community who desperately want high speed fiber internet service.  Ask them to sign up to support your desire for fiber internet.  

If each backer leverages these very informative materials to sign up just one new backer, we will quickly reach our goal and be on our way to construction of the network.  We are very much looking forward to bringing this wonderful service to all of you.

Please also share the YouTube link below on Facebook, Twitter (or email it) to friends and others who still need to sign up as a backer.  It's a link to a short, fun animated video about our project - https://youtu.be/hVHWY2VjKcA.  

Thanks for all of your support in helping us bring world-class internet to your doorstep!

The BARConnects Team

One more to go, Lexington Zone!!!

5:54pm May 28, 2015

After a flurry of activity on the site today, with many new backers joining the campaign, the Lexington zone is just one backer away from making its goal!  Way to go Lexington zone backers!!!

We would like to thank the Lexington Rotary Club for hosting our CEO & GM, Mike Keyser, for dinner yesterday evening and inviting him to speak about the fiber project.  The positive response from the Rotarians was tremendous, and we thank you for your support of our project.  Special thanks to Mr. Jim Slack and Mr. Derek Carter for arranging the visit.

Group presentations - like the Lexington Rotary - are a great way to raise awareness and get questions answered about our efforts to build a fiber-to-the-home network.  If any groups would like to request a BARC speaker, please don't hesitate to contact Haley Woodzell, Marketing Coordinator, at (800) 846-2272 or by email at hwoodzell@barcelectric.com.  We would be more than happy to come talk to any group, large or small.

Have a great night!  Go Lexington zone!

The BARConnects Team

Help us share this video about our project!

11:35am May 19, 2015

Greetings BARConnects backers!  Here's a link to a fun little YouTube video about our campaign to bring fiber Internet to your doorstep.  Please help us spread the word about our project by sharing this video with everyone you know!

https://youtu.be/hVHWY2VjKcA

Thank you!

The BARConnects Team

Week 16 Update - now hiring!

8:25pm May 6, 2015

Greetings BARConnects backers,

As we quickly approach summer, we are seizing upon the opportunity to hire summer interns to assist in our door-to-door marketing campaign.  This is a great opportunity for high school or college students to gain hands-on experience in a startup business venture, and to help make a real difference in the future of Rockbridge County!  We are now staffing up to 8 summer marketing intern positions to assist with promoting this project to bring lightning fast fiber internet to Rockbridge County and the City of Lexington.  

Marketing interns will be responsible for conducting a grassroots door-to-door campaign to raise awareness about the project and its benefits, answering questions, and signing up supporters to the project. The interns will travel out to eligible areas of the city and county and interact with prospective customers. Interns may be asked to perform other marketing-related tasks associated with print and radio media as well.

Successful candidates must have excellent interpersonal and communication skills; an energetic and positive attitude; the ability to understand and explain concepts around broadband internet, telephone and cable TV services; and must be detail-oriented. The initial hours for the position will be Monday to Friday, 2pm to 8pm at $9.50 per hour.  The hours may be increased to 40 hours/week later in the summer.

 

 

Interested high school or college students should submit a brief letter of interest and resume to April Tuning, Administrative Assistant, at co-op@barcelectric.com. Questions can be directed to April at her email address or by calling (800) 846-2272.

Also, please keep an eye out in the mail for our flyer and FAQ guide.  It's coming soon and presents a great opportunity for you to share with someone who has not yet backed our project and get them signed up.

Have a great rest of your week!

The BARConnects Team

Week 14 Update

8:45pm April 26, 2015

Good evening, BARConnects backers!

As we put a wrap on week 14 of our campaign to bring lightning-fast fiber Internet directly to your home (or business), I remain hopeful that we will reach our backer goal.  A tremendous amount of time, effort and planning has gone into creating a solid foundation upon which we hope to build a fiber network - a foundation of engineering, mapping, business planning, and now marketing.  We are on the cusp of forever transforming the economy and employment opportunities in Rockbridge County.  I couldn't be more excited for what is to come.

Just 900 homes and businesses stand between us and our goal - between slow DSL, wireless or satellite and lightning-fast fiber Internet.  Between $65/month or more for current services, and $50/month for BARC fiber.  Between a company choosing to start up in Roanoke or Harrisonburg and choosing to start up in Lexington.  Between BARC expanding this project to places like Goshen and Millboro, and this project not happening at all.

Week 14 marks the beginning of the final chapter in this campaign.  Although it is still in the distance, I can see the finish line.  I know that we are drawing nearer to a decision point - whether there is enough community support to proceed with this project, or whether this project is an idea ahead of its time.  We are gathering supporters in every way possible - radio, print, web, social media, direct mail, word of mouth, and door-to-door.  Our backers have been, and continue to be, our best asset in promoting this project.  For that, I thank all of you.

I really believe we will get there.  But it's going to take all of us talking about this project to everyone we know.  In the coming weeks, everyone in the eligible first phase is going to receive a mailing.  That mailing will include a promotional flyer, a Frequently Asked Questions guide, and a registration form.  I have a humble request.  Share these materials with someone you know who is not a backer - and get them signed up.  If all of you accomplish this task, we will double our current backer count to 1,300.  

If that happens, I promise you we will carry this football across the goal line.

Best Regards,

Mike Keyser

CEO & GM

Week 13 Update

5:52pm April 17, 2015

Greetings BARConnects backers!

As we officially wrap the 13th week of the BARC If You Want Broadband campaign, our Lexington zone is nearing 90% of its backer goal.  Way to go Lexington zone backers!  Just a few more backers and we will have reached our goal.  Of course, if the Lexington zone exceeds its zonal goal, it will help the total backer goal as well. 

While Rockbridge zone still has a long way to go, we note that it continues to make steady progress.  It is also is the zone with the most potential remaining yet to be tapped.  If you are a backer in the Rockbridge zone, we would encourage you to reach out to your friends and neighbors and remind them to BARC for broadband.  In addition to BARC's marketing efforts (which now include door-to-door), word of mouth will be critical to reaching our goal to proceed.

This week, BARC representatives spoke at several community functions to raise awareness about the campaign and encourage supporters to pre-register.  Notably, BARC CEO & GM Mike Keyser spoke to a group of local realtors about the community benefits of BARC's broadband effort.  We would like to thank the realtors association for hosting our CEO and supporting our effort to bring world-class internet to Rockbridge County, with a special thanks to Jim Moore for helping make the connection.

Have a great weekend BARConnects backers!  

The BARConnects Team

Week 8 Update

5:07pm March 12, 2015

Greetings BARConnects backers!

Congratulations to the Lexington zone for passing the 50% mark this week (as of today, 52%)!  Way to go!!!  You are on the home stretch with only 119 more backers to go.  Keep up the great momentum Lexington zone!  Not to be outdone, the Rockbridge zone continued its progress this week, adding backers at a steady clip every day this week.  Rockbridge is just shy of 1/4 of the way to its goal of 1,300 backers.  We would like to especially thank the local businesses that signed up this week - thank you for your support.

As we continue our efforts to increase awareness about the project, here is a fascinating article about the property value impacts of having a direct fiber connection, like you will receive for FREE by supporting BARConnects.  Please feel free to share with friends, family, and on social media, and ask them to share and raise awareness about our project as well.  If we are to reach our goal, it will take a group effort of the cooperative and its supporters.

"Fiber optic internet adds roughly $5,250 to the value of a $300,000 home" 

http://motherboard.vice.com/read/gigabit-internet-connections-make-property-values-rise

When families go to buy a new home, they're most often looking for a couple things: Good schools, a safe neighborhood, maybe something that's near public transportation. And, increasingly and undeniably, access to gigabit internet service.

Cities and towns across the country are beginning to see next generation internet access as a necessity, citing its impact on property values, rents, and overall economic health.

Take Austin, Texas, for instance. Yes, it's been a city on the rise for more than a decade now, and it's got a legendary music scene, a good university, and a hip vibe. But it's also got Google Fiber, which has helped the city solidify itself as a tech hub.

In lots of cases, it's a chicken-and-egg situation: Cities with gigabit internet service are doing well economically (and have the real estate numbers to prove it), but there aren't solid stats to prove causation at the moment.

If we had a choice, we would pick a place to live that has really good service

"Fiber availability may drive real estate prices upwards. An unobserved variable may jointly determine both real estate prices and fiber presence," Gabor Molnar, a telecommunications researcher at the University of Colorado wrote in a paper last year. "Alternatively, both might be correct. Residential properties in markets with high-speed broadband access would be expected to have greater value. However, good quality broadband infrastructure is also expected to be rolled out first in high-income areas with high-valued real estate."

Molnar's study was the first large-scale study done in the United States on the hypothesis, and he ultimately concluded that that the "early results are strong enough to justify further research." It’s also worth noting that Google came under fire for allegations of providing fiber first in neighborhoods that were already rich.

Anecdotally, cities and the people who want to live in them say they need fast internet to be competitive, and they don't necessarily need a study to prove it to them.

"It's getting to the point where, if my neighboring community has a gig and we're still doing satellite, the property value in that town is going to go up," Deb Socia,  director of Next Century Cities, a coalition of cities trying to provide gigabit internet speeds to their citizens, told me. "You're going to lose people and you're going to lose revenue without it. I'm hearing it from folks in different chambers of commerce, in real estate, in politics. I wouldn't have necessarily thought of it if I hadn't heard it from them."

fiber optic internet adds roughly $5,250 to the value of a $300,000 home

Austin has one of the strongest real estate markets in the country, and cities with municipally owned fiber like Wilson, North Carolina and Chattanooga, Tennessee, are doing extremely well as far as small cities go. A recent study by Wichita State University noted that the "Kansas City housing market is clearly on the rebound" and that home values were expected to rise 2.7 percent in 2014, roughly a year after Google Fiber came to the city.

Though not a ton of research has been done on the subject, there are some other initial studies that back up the idea. A study by RVA LLC Market Research and Consulting that was shared with me by Drew Clark, an attorney with the Kirton McConkie law firm who is working with cities to bring gigabit fiber to residents, found that fiber optic internet adds roughly $5,250 to the value of a $300,000 home. A British study found that people in London are willing to pay 8 percent above market prices for homes and apartments that have high speed internet.

Clark says that it's not just the handful of cities who have joined Socia's coalition: More than 1,100 cities asked Google to build fiber in their municipalities, and, regardless of whether or not they eventually get picked, they're looking for ways to either build it themselves or partner with someone who will do it for them.

"They're asking, is there a way for us to be involved or do this on our own?," he told me. "And then they're looking at it and seeing that most municipal fiber projects have been doing quite well in meeting their objectives."

When you think about it, it's quite an obvious thing for a city and a person to want, and it goes well beyond just being able to binge watch TV shows. Patrick Lucey, a municipal fiber researcher at the Open Technology Institute, told me that cities are seeing this as a necessity, period.

"It's not just about broadband internet so you can watch Netflix," he told me. "It's about making sure schools and first responders have the bandwidth capabilities they need, it's about letting businesses take advantage of that speed."

"If we had a choice, we would pick a place to live that has really good service," Socia said. Wouldn't you?

Eligible Customers

4:56pm March 6, 2015

Good evening BARConnects backers,

We want to briefly clarify the eligibility for our project.  Please feel free to forward this to others who may not be aware of the program eligibility.  BARConnects will operate as a wholly-owned subsidiary of BARC Electric Cooperative.  As a subsidiary company, BARConnects is not constrained by the territorial boundaries of BARC's electric service area.  Thus, BARConnects is capable of providing broadband, telephone and cable TV to any resident or business in the eligible area for phase 1.  In fact, the "Lexington zone" is largely comprised of customers that BARC does not serve with electricity.

So to summarize, everyone who resides in the colored zones is eligible for our project!

Have a great weekend,

The BARConnects Team

Week 7 Update

8:44am March 6, 2015

Good morning BARConnects backers!  This week brings some very exciting news about our fiber project.

In the late afternoon Wednesday, we learned that BARC won a $240,000 grant from the Federal Communications Commission.  The funding comes from the Connect America Fund (CAF), a program within the FCC to bring broadband to all of rural America.  In a press release issued yesterday, BARC CEO Mike Keyser said, "We are very excited to have been selected by the FCC for a rural broadband grant.  This support will enable us to serve high cost and remote locations, which is common across our territory.  It is our goal that one day every member of BARC will have access to world-class Internet speeds."  We are hopeful that news outlets will pick up on this story and help further spread the word to eligible customers about our project.

As of this morning, just under 400 customers have signed on as "backers" to our project.  While this is a great start, we have a long way to go if we are to reach our goal of 1,550 backers.  The project will only proceed if there is a sufficient showing of customer support.  This is due to the substantial financial investment required of a fiber project - in our case, the first phase is $16 million.  Without a collective of support, we cannot ensure long-term financial sustainability.

BARC staff are working diligently to spread the word about the project.  In addition to our website and social media posts, BARC has issued press releases and sent direct mail informational flyers to eligible customers.  We are also running ads on Classic 96.7 FM and in print.  We will soon begin going door-to-door, in an effort to raise further awareness about the project and to explain its many benefits. 

Lastly, BARC staff are available to speak at local Ruritan clubs, churches, and other social gatherings.  Please feel free to inquire with Haley Woodzell, Marketing Specialist, for more information about arranging a BARC speaker for your function.  Haley can be reached at hwoodzell@barcelectric.com or (800) 846-2272.

Have a great weekend!

The BARConnects Team 

Week 3 progress

7:07pm February 6, 2015

Good evening BARConnects backers!  It was another exciting week here at BARC as our "BARC if you want broadband!" campaign continues to gain momentum and add supporters.  Both zones have shown excellent progress in reaching their goals.  Just remember, the faster we can get to our goal, the faster we can bring ultra-high-speed Internet to you!  Several of you have asked for flyers to pass out to your friends, neighbors, and co-workers - thank you for your support and efforts.  We are happy to provide materials to any BARConnector who wishes to take an active role in supporting the project.  Ruritan clubs, church functions, and social gatherings are great places to spread the word and enlist supporters. 

Like rural electrification, this endeavor will take the collective effort of the full community and it's local cooperative (that's us!) to succeed and flourish.  Together we can bring world-class Internet to our area.

For those without web access or an email account, customers can pre-register over the phone by calling our office during business hours (800-846-2272).  Our customer service representatives would be happy to take down information and register backers over the phone.   One of the things that sets us apart is our customer service - you will always talk to a live person when you call our office.  We pride ourselves on our individualized attention and responsiveness to your needs, so please call us if you need us. 

We would be remiss if we did not thank some of the local media outlets for supporting our project and promoting the community benefits it will bring.  Special thanks to the Lexington News-Gazette for a great editorial in this week's paper.  Special thanks as well to the Rockbridge Advocate for their front-page story.  And last, but not least, special thanks to "Radio Ron" and Jim at 96.7 FM and 1450 AM for their support and assistance.

Have a great weekend!

Week 2 in the books

6:31pm January 30, 2015

Greetings BARConnects backers!  Week 2 of "BARC if you want broadband!" is in the books and we are closing in on 200 backers.  Not a bad showing for two weeks of work, but we have a long way to go to reaching 1,550.

Next Monday around 9am, tune in to Classic 96.7 FM for a live interview with CEO & GM Mike Keyser discussing the project and the campaign.  Mr. Keyser will also be taping an interview for their sister station, 1450 AM, to air throughout the week.

Next week we will also begin mailing and handing out flyers to eligible customers in phase 1.  Some of you have expressed interest in receiving a stack of flyers to hand out to your neighbors and friends, and we will be mailing those out next week as well.  If you are interested in receiving a stack of flyers, please don't hesitate to contact us at BARConnects@barcelectric.com.  We would be happy to send you some materials!

Many of you have also asked about pricing information.  We will not be disclosing that information until we achieve our goal and proceed to construction.  This is in part because our pricing is going to be extremely affordable and competitive, and we don't want our competitors to see it.  But it is also due to the fact we haven't yet signed any contracts with partners/vendors, and pricing is thus subject to change. 

Lastly, let's briefly talk timelines - also a topic of frequent interest.  We're hoping we reach our goal in 3 months or less.  Once we reach our goal of 1,550 backers, it will take another 3-6 months for state regulatory approval and construction to begin.  Things often take longer than planned, but we are hopeful we can meet or exceed our timeline.  Of course, we greatly appreciate all your patience while we work to bring to you the fastest internet in the country.

Have a great weekend.

The BARConnects Team

2073 in town backers

2 of 2 zones at goal

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