SUFFOLK, Va. (WAVY) – Officials from Suffolk, Southampton County, and Isle of Wrights County came together Thursday to break ground on a $35 million broadband internet investment.

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This public-private investment will bring broadband internet to underserved areas of Suffolk. The project will lay 2,000 new miles of fiber and will connect 12,000 homes, businesses and other buildings in the three localities to reliable high-speed internet.

According to a news release, funding for this investment came from the Virginia Telecommunication Initiative (VATI) grant, which was awarded to the Hampden Roads Planning District Commission by the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development for.

Additional support from localities and charter communications also played a part in the $35 million for the project.

During the groundbreaking event, Suffolk Mayor Michael D. Duman said, “Our City in particular, due to its vast land mass, was challenged in expanding this much needed service to our rural community. This project will substantially bolster educational capabilities and spur economic growth. The VATI grant project is going to connect citizens and businesses that, until now, have been limited in their capabilities with little or no connectivity.”

The project is projected to be complete within three years.