Our roots are founded in providing advisory services to investor-owned utilities. When telecommunications was deregulated at the Inter-Exchange (IXC) level in the late ‘80’s we were engaged to help our utility clients commercialize their massive fiber optics infrastructure. Our efforts were focused on initiatives such as DukeNet, CaroNet, Dominion Telecom, TVA, CFN FiberNet, and others. Later, in the mid-90’s when telecom was deregulated at the Local Exchange level our services were in demand from developers of large master-planned communities who used the options conveyed to them by deregulation to create more sustainable communities using advanced communications services. We served such marquee clients as Playa Vista, Mission Bay, Lennar Communities, Brookfield Residential, Kennecott Land, Morgan Stanley Real Estate Fund, and Goldman Whitehall Fund, to mention a few.
In 2000 we were contacted by the Future of the Piedmont Foundation from Southern Virginia who had learned of our work in creating sustainable communities. Southern Virginia is a 22-county region whose economy had been heavily dependent upon agriculture, textiles, and manufacturing. The regional leaders reasoned that if they were to compete in the 21st century, they needed advanced infrastructure to attract and retain businesses. We were engaged to develop a business plan and model to establish a viable middle-mile transport network – Mid Atlantic Broadband (MBC https://mbc-va.com/ ). Our work proved out that such an investment would succeed. Our plan was the tool that drew a $5 million grant from the EDA and a $47 million grant from the Virginia Tobacco and Economic Revitalization Commission. In 2008, MBC was awarded an additional $50 million BTOP stimulus grant to expand the network and the business model. Today, MBC operates a 1,900 mile fiber network, is in its 16th year of business, has driven over $4 Billion of direct investment into the region and is widely regarded as the model for regional re-invention. Four of the world’s largest technology companies utilize the MBC network.
The success of MBC marked a turning point for our consultancy. In 2003 we organized Blue Ridge Advisory Services to provide professional consulting to clients in need of assistance with advanced communications. Our clients include Cities, Counties, Councils of Government, Planning Districts, Regional Economic Development Agencies, and Electric and Telecommunications Cooperatives. Any organization committed to improve the quality of life for the citizens it serves, through telecommunications, is a prospective client for Blue Ridge.