We have an amazingly successful cooperative effort in RANA, tying institutions and communities together to run blazingly fast optical fiber internet access close to many in the county, essentially free to us because of a government grant. All looks really, really good.
Except for one thing that may sink it all. Easements about an inch wide are needed to run fiber cable underground, where they will lie invisible as they perform amazing service for us all. No money is budgeted. Here is a case where property owners' stubborn refusal to allow the lines to run serves nobody's interest, including theirs.
Wouldn't it be great if those approached would say, simply, "Sure, I'll allow the line to be buried on the road that fronts my property. I realize we'll all benefit in one way or another so it makes no sense for me to strong-arm our local government for money they don't have. It would kill high speed internet in Rockbridge and sometimes we just need to do what's right for our community. Where do I sign?"
On Jan 11, 2012, Kit Huffman in the News-Gazette wrote: Internet Edition managed using RANA Switches To Phone Calls For Easements
The Rockbridge Area Network Authority has shifted tactics in its effort to persuade landowners to sign easements allowing RANA’s fiber-optic cable to pass through their property.
Following discussion on Monday and in other recent meetings, the RANA board decided to follow up its initial requests for easements with telephone calls and appointments, rather than sending out volunteers to knock on the doors of landowners who have so far not signed their easement documents.
Most of the proposed 138- mile cable route runs along rights-of-way owned by the Virginia Department of Transportation or power utilities, which have issued blanket easements for the project. However, part of the route runs through private property, requiring about 300 landowner easements for completion.
In early November, RANA held a series of community meetings to answer landowners’ questions about the easements and provide an opportunity to sign the documents with a witness. However, attendance was spotty and response often tepid, the RANA board reported. By the third week of December, fewer than 50 private easements had been signed, said Dan Grim, RANA board secretary.
By Thanksgiving, RANA had mailed all landowners with outstanding easements their actual easement documents for perusal and consideration.
Initially, RANA’s plan was to gather a cadre of volunteers, including members of the RANA board and neighbors and other volunteers, to fan out into the community and knock on doors of landowners with outstanding easements. That idea has now been changed to making requests by phone, either for an appointment for a RANA volunteer and a notary public to come to the landowner’s house for the easement to be signed, or for the landowner to come to the county administration building to sign the document there. The telephone calls will be made by the same kinds of volunteers who would have gone doorto- door, Grim said