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History of RANA

The Rockbridge Area Network Authority was created by Rockbridge County, Lexington and Buena Vista cities, and Washington & Lee University in 2009 to promote and provide high-speed "big broadband" fiber infrastructure for the area localities.

The Authority was created after years of study initiated by matching funds provided to the area localities by Virginia's Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) in early 2007. The Rockbridge Area Telecommunications Management Team was created to direct the funding and hire a consulting firm to establish the area's need for high-speed broadband access. The three local governments posted a 33% match to hire the consulting firm to study the feasibility for countywide broadband development.

The Telecommunications team was formed late in 2007 with members from the public and private sectors. Design Nine Inc., out of Blacksburg was hired to put together a comprehensive broadband feasibility plan which was presented in a 150 page report in October 2008. The report included: a Vision for the Region, Economic Impact Analysis, Case Studies from other areas, a Needs Assessment, Residential and Business Survey analysis, Broadband Education Strategies, Last Mile solutions, Network Architecture options, and Recommendations.

DHCD had proposed to fund a second phase to design a pilot project with a match from the localities. But the state funds were not forthcoming as the economic recession began to take its toll in late 2008. The County and the two cities decided to go ahead with the Phase II study on their own in late December 2008.

Washington and Lee joined the Telecommunications team in May 2009 and made a very generous offer of $2 million to be used as a grant fund match for Economic Stimulus funding made available through the Federal Recovery and Reinvestment Act. W&L already had plans to build a new fiber data distribution center on the west side of campus. The additional matching funds allowed us to increase the request to $10 million and to build out to the all public service entities.

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