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Shentel spells out system upgrades, rate increases / December 26, 2019
Telecom provider Shentel is making upgrades to communications equipment in the Clarksville area and increasing its rates to customers.

Chris Kyle, an official with Shentel, shared the news with members of Clarksville Town Council on Wednesday night during Council’s monthly meeting. Shentel, which provides phone, internet and television services to homes and businesses in Clarksville and surrounding areas, performed extensive upgrades in all of its markets over the past two years, Kyle said. As a result, there are changes to internet speeds offered to Clarksville customers that are “now competitive with any major metropolitan area.”

With the changes, connection speeds start at 50 megabits per second (Mbps) and rise all the way up to 1 gigabit per second.

To date, Shentel has over 5,400 miles of fiber optic lines installed across Virginia making broadband available to over 200,000 home, according to Kyle. While currently there is no wireless service coverage in the Clarksville area, the town is included in Shentel’s fiber route. Shentel is looking into the cost of extending service to two additional areas of town that were annexed into Clarksville in 2012.

Kyle said the company is applying for a VATI (Virginia Telecommunications Initiative) grant to cover the cost of expanding service into these areas.

Kyle acknowledged that existing customers have experienced static in their internet and communication lines during the upgrade process, but said the upgrades should have resolved those problems.

Starting in January, the cost of Shentel video services will increase $1.22 a month for the broadcast surcharge paid by all customers, $3 per month to receive the advanced video package, which includes access to ESPN and the ACC channel for sports, and $2 additional for the Ultimate video package.

Kyle said the company will continue to offer what he called a “powerhouse rate card.” It is pricing for a bundle of services that includes internet, television and telephone with unlimited long distance calling. The bundles run from a low of $98.90 to $175.90.

In other business at the Council meeting, Operations Director Richard Elliott said repairs are complete to water lines after ruptures developed Monday near Fifth Street. He said the rupture and repair work occurred during the overnight hours when residents were asleep and thus they did not experience any major disruption in service.

“This leak was nothing compared to the one at College Street,” Elliott said. That rupture, which occurred Nov. 12, drained one of the town’s three water tanks and prompted the Virginia Department of Health to issue a boil water alert.

Elliott commended a local police officer who discovered the leak and promptly notified him. “It shows they’re keeping watch,” he said.

Elliott also said the town’s new garbage truck is heading back to the factory for revisions. It was not made to the town’s specifications, which means that employees who operate the truck cannot dump large commercial refuge containers into the truck bin. He said the company has promised to make alterations to resolve the issue, but Elliott could not say how long it would take for these repairs.

The Town of Clarksville is still seeking donations to pay for a new welcome sign at Highway 15 South near the Highway 58 bypass interchange. Anyone willing to donate should contact Town Manager Jeff Jones at the town offices, 321 Virginia Avenue, or by calling (434) 374-8177.

Jones announced that Town Hall will be closed for the holidays Tuesday, Dec. 24 and Wednesday, Dec. 25 and then Wednesday, Jan. 1. There will be no change to the residential or business trash pickup schedule during this time.

Council reappointed Richard Burnett and Robin Tuck to the Clarksville Planning Commission for a period of four years beginning Feb. 1.

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