State announces $18.3M in broadband grants
The grants are expected to connect about 36,000 households, mainly in rural areas.
The Virginia Telecommunication Initiative (VATI) will award more than $18.3 million in grants to 12 broadband expansion projects in the state, mainly in rural areas, Gov. Ralph Northam announced Wednesday. The grants are expected to connect about 36,000 households, according to a press release.
The governor’s proposed 2020-21 budget adds $16 million to the $19 million allocated last year for broadband expansion in Virginia, where approximately 600,000 residents lack reliable high-speed internet, according to state government estimates.
“Broadband is a necessity for communities to attract business, for students to use educational resources, and for Virginians to receive healthcare through telemedicine,” Northam said in a statement. “My administration is committed to expanding broadband access to every part of Virginia, so that all of our citizens have access to the opportunities that connectivity make possible.”
VATI is a state-funded program administered by the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD), and the $18.3 million in grants will go to localities and broadband authorities to provide “last-mile” fiber to unserved communities. DHCD received 39 applications from 34 localities requesting $43.6 million in funding, according to the governor’s office.
The following localities and commissions received grants:
- Albemarle Broadband Authority, $291,300
- Central Shenandoah Planning District Commission, $2,202,000
- Charles City County, $3,966,012
- Cumberland Plateau Planning District Commission, $226,560
- Franklin County, $2,383,039
- Grayson County, $1,838,255
- Halifax County, $710,514
- King and Queen County, $2,020,291
- LENOWISCO (Lee, Scott and Wise counties and the city of Norton) Planning District Commission, $790,464
- Patrick County, $798,283
- Stafford County, $874,478
- Surry County, $2,225,000