Hardy Telecommunications is completing work on its AnchorRing project, connecting critical anchor institutions in Hardy County to a fiber-optic cable network.
Several local organizations have already been connected to AnchorRing and are enjoying the benefits of much faster Internet speeds possible with fiber. Those anchor institutions already using AnchorRing include the Hardy County Rural Development Authority, E.A. Hawse Health Center in Baker, the towns of Moorefield and Wardensville, and many more, with more installations scheduled.
Mallie Combs, executive director of the RDA, said AnchorRing will play an important role in attracting industry and development to the area.
“It is an economic development benefit to the operation of the HCRDA to have fast Internet service,” she said. “This telecommunications infrastructure will be an asset to current businesses while allowing Hardy County to be more competitive with future new and expanding business investments.”
AnchorRing was partially funded by the federal National Telecommunications and Information Administration Broadband Technologies Opportunity Program, which awarded Hardy a $3.2 million grant in combination with an $814,000 cash contribution from Hardy. It was designed to establish a fiber ring and bring faster Internet to “critical anchor institutions” in Hardy County, such as emergency, medical, educational, government, and other public service organizations. More than 122 miles of fiber have been constructed as part of AnchorRing.
In the telecommunications industry, AnchorRing is called a “middle-mile” project. Hardy’s other major fiber project, OneNet, is a “last-mile” project that will bring fiber-optic cable connections directly to businesses and residential homes in the county. OneNet is being partially funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development program with a $22.15 million grant and $9.49 million loan.
“AnchorRing and OneNet are separate projects, but they will work together to bring more services and economic development to Hardy County,” said Hardy Marketing/Human Resource Director Derek Barr. “The Internet is one of the biggest influences on business and industry in today’s world, and our fiber network will give local anchor institutions and businesses a level playing field with those in urban areas.”