Wired Road adds third service provider

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NationsLine has become the latest service provider available to businesses and homes through The Wired Road.

The Wired Road is a community-owned, regional, open-access network serving Carroll and Grayson counties and Galax.

Based in Roanoke, NationsLine will offer business and residential Internet access and voice-over-IP telephone, computer data backup and IP trunking. These services, which customers can purchase as a bundle on one bill, became available within parts of The Wired Road’s service area Jan. 5, said Debbie Bolen, The Wired Road marketing manager.

“We’re delighted to join The Wired Road and expand into the Twin County region,” said Steve Fralin, NationsLine’s vice president. "We are confident we can provide the area the broadband services that will help strengthen economic development, education and generally support local efforts to keep pace with telecommunications advances, both for business and personal use."

NationsLine’s addition brings to three the number of firms providing broadband services over The Wired Road’s fiber-optic and wireless networks. WireDog and LS Net, both based in Galax, provide high-speed Internet access.

“NationsLine’s addition means businesses and homes in our region will have more services and products to choose from and will benefit from competition between these companies,” Bolen said.

NationsLine now serves tens of thousands of commercial and residential customers worldwide and has invested millions of dollars in its network, which has equipment at more than 100 sites nationwide

“We have a well-trained, highly skilled staff with the experience to meet our customers’ needs. Our technology is cutting-edge and top quality, and our services are competitively priced and secure,” Fralin said.

Currently, The Wired Road has fiber-optic lines to carry providers’ services in downtown Galax and in Galax along Hospital Drive and Glendale Road to the Vaughan Building.

Strategically placed towers atop some of the region’s highest peaks provide a wireless link that allows providers to offer their services to some of the region’s more rural areas. Wireless connections are now available in areas of Carroll, Galax and Grayson. The Wired Road has a map of the wireless service available posted on its Web site.

To determine service availability, residents should check www.thewiredroad.net and complete the “Contact Us” form.

The Wired Road plans to add capacity for video once the project lays more fiber-optic cable, Bolen said.

“We will continue to expand availability throughout the region, including replacing wireless with fiber-optic service in some areas,” Bolen said. 

Bolen also announced The Wired Road plans to add fiber and wireless services to the Grant community in western Grayson County, with groundbreaking tentatively set for spring.

Funding this expansion is an $837,453 Community Connect grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Utilities Service. This latest project includes a public computer center that will be housed at the Grant Grange Hall. 

Such projects, along with planned Wired Road expansion, increase high-speed Internet access and availability of other broadband products to unserved Twin County areas and allow providers such as NationsLine, WireDog and LS Net to compete for more customers, Bolen explained.

The Wired Road launched its network in April 2009 and major users include Carroll County Schools, Twin County Regional Healthcare, Rooftop of Virginia, City of Galax, Galax Police Department, Chestnut Creek School of the Arts, Galax General District Court, Crito Group, Blue Ridge Physicians for Women, Blue Ridge Surgical and the Carroll County Administrator’s office, as well as numerous residential and business customers.

The Wired Road is similar to a government-built highway system, Bolen explained. Service providers such as NationsLine, WireDog and LS Net pay a fee to use The Wired Road and then sell services to businesses and homes.

Additional start-up funding came from the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development, the Carroll County School system, the Crossroads Institute, the Virginia Tobacco Commission and the Appalachian Regional Commission.

The Wired Road is awaiting a response from a $16 million grant application through the federal stimulus program.

• For more information visit nationsline.com or www.wiredroad.net, or call Debbie Bolen at 238-0049.