RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Virginians living and working in 11 localities throughout the commonwealth will soon have access to high-speed internet, according to the Office of the Governor.
Governor Ralph Northam announced Tuesday that more than $29.6 million in grants is being awarded through the Virginia Telecommunication Initiative (VATI). According to a release, the funding will support five projects, connecting more than 11,700 households, businesses, and anchor institutions to broadband service, and leveraging over $34 million in private and local investments.
“Now more than ever, we must ensure that Virginians in every part of our Commonwealth have access to reliable, high-speed internet,” Northam said. “With these grants, we will help bridge the digital divide in unserved communities and provide thousands of households and businesses with the connections they need to work, learn, and thrive.”
The Cumberland Plateau Planning District Commission and Point Broadband will receive the most grant funding, with $16,285,217. Officials say this will fund the construction of 1,312 miles of fiber to include the counties of Buchanan, Dickenson, Russell, and Tazewell.
The Northern Neck Planning District Commission and All Points Broadband have been awarded $10,288,069.82 to construct a regional network that will provide gigabit-cable, fiber-to-the-home broadband to unserved locations. This includes the counties of King George, Northumberland, Richmond, and Westmoreland, according to a release. Officials say the project will provide access to 1,767 total serviceable units, including 31 businesses.
The Office of the Governor did not announce timelines for when work on these projects would take place. However, All Points Broadband says service availability will depend on customer interest, with connection possible as early as this spring.
“Since day one of the Northam Administration, broadband expansion has been a key priority to connect our unserved Virginians,” Secretary of Commerce and Trade Brian Ball said. “These grants will connect more than 11,000 households, businesses and community anchors to high-speed internet, allowing them important opportunities in education, work, and healthcare.”
According to a release, projects were selected through a competitive evaluation process, which factored in the demonstrated need and benefit for the community, applicant readiness and capacity, as well as the cost and leverage of the proposed project.
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