‘I want my children to be providing broadband to this county’ says new co-owner, Richard Pate

Embrace change? No. Adapt to it? Possibly.  

Outback broadband: Piedmont Broadband’s Steven Bohannon (left) and Matt Shoemaker prepare to fire the Big Shot, a giant slingshot that fires a tethered weight over a high branch to set the climbing rope they’ll need to service a customer’s radio — which is 100 feet up in a poplar tree in Tiger Valley.

At the Rappahannock County Broadband Authority meeting on Monday, July 19, Richard Pate confirmed that he and his brother, Russell, have purchased local wireless internet service Piedmont Broadband from former owner Rich Shoemaker. 

Pate said his plan is to build a mission-critical utility providing reliable and scalable service to county residents. “My brother and I are not short-term businesspeople. Everything we do is for our family. I would like my children to be providing internet to this county. And so we are building this the way we built our other businesses: Long term.”  

A managing partner for Intrepid Wireless Networks based in Charlotte, N.C., Pate said he has been involved with Piedmont for four years and officially took over on July 1. “We’re going to continue to grow, we’re going to continue to do the best we can for our subscribers,” Pate said. He added that he hopes to increase broadband speeds and add nearly 900 new subscribers in the next three years, bringing the total subscriptions to roughly 1,500. “And then lastly is security. There’s a number of things we want to do to improve the security of our network.”

He also said he hopes to improve customer service and reach out directly to subscribers who have been experiencing outages. “If there’s lightning, we can’t have massive outages and that’s where we are [now]. There are a number of reasons for that but we have a plan to correct that and we plan to have that 98 percent cleared up in the next 12 months.”

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