$29.6M state grants to expand broadband in 11 localities
Projects to provide high-speed internet to more than 11.7K households statewide
Nearly $30 million in Virginia Telecommunication Initiative (VATI) grants will be disbursed among five projects to expand broadband access in 11 localities in the Northern Neck, Southwest and Southern Virginia and Botetourt County, Gov. Ralph Northam announced Tuesday.
The projects will connect more than 11,700 households, businesses and institutions to high-speed internet. VATI provides funding for broadband expansion projects to underserved areas.
“Now more than ever, we must ensure that Virginians in every part of our commonwealth have access to reliable, high-speed internet,” Northam said in a statement. “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.”
Funding will be disbursed among the following projects:
- Cumberland Plateau Planning District Commission and Point Broadband, $16.28 million. Cumberland Plateau Planning District Commission will install 1,312 miles of fiber in the counties of Buchanan, Dickenson, Russell and Tazewell through a partnership with Point Broadband. It will provide access to 8,335 units, including 82 businesses.
- Northern Neck Planning District Commission and All Points Broadband, $10.28 million. Northern Neck Planning District Commission, in partnership with All Points Broadband, will construct a regional network in the counties of King George, Northumberland, Richmond and Westmoreland. The project will provide access to 1,767 units, including 31 businesses.
- Botetourt County and Lumos, $1.36 million. Botetourt County, through a partnership with internet service provider Lumos, will extend its broadband network in the county. It will bring broadband access to 548 units, including 30 businesses.
- LENOWISCO Planning District Commission and Scott County Telephone Cooperative, $1.23 million. LENOWISCO Planning District Commission, in partnership with Scott County Telephone Cooperative, will install 73 miles of fiber in Lee County, providing access to 679 total units.
- Mecklenburg County and EMPOWER Broadband, $449,381. Mecklenburg County will install more than 22 miles of fiber with EMPOWER Broadband. The project will connect 414 units, including 12 businesses.
VATI is administered by the Department of Housing and Community Development. Northam in his 2020 budget dedicated nearly $50 million in VATI funding. This application year, VATI received 45 applications requesting more than $105 million in funding.