BVU, Sunset, VCC have 10 days to negotiate deal to expand wireless service


The BVU Optinet deal is not dead yet. It's back to the negotiating table before the sale to Sunset Digital can be finalized.

The Virginia Coalfield Coalition is one of several groups that needs to give its approval for the deal to move forward. On Wednesday night, after meeting for five hours, the VCC voted to rescind its approval, which it had originally granted at the end of June.

Instead, its giving BVU and Sunset more time to negotiate. The Coalition wants six fibers, which it can use to expand the wireless network in Southwest Virginia.

At its last meeting, Sunset's attorney said that wasn't possible. On Wednesday night, BVU CEO Don Bowman confirmed it does not have six fibers to hand over right now. But he said with time and money, those could be built.

The VCC's chairman Seth White said their goal is not to block the sale. They just want what they say is fair.

"The end result is fine, which is we get to go back to the negotiating table," White said. "The problem from the beginning was that Sunset didn't want to negotiate with us because they believed they had the votes to do what they wanted to do. Well, they found out they didn't. So now, it's a long way around to where we wanted to go in the first place, which is to sit down at the table. And I think a lot of good things happened tonight."

Now BVU and Sunset have ten days to come up with a plan to build those six fibers for the VCC. The coalition is set to meet again on August 2nd, and hopes to make a final decision.

Sunset's goal is to expand broadband service to 10,000 people in five years. It first announced its bid to buy BVU's Optinet service for $50 million, about a year and a half ago.

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