Advocates announce formation of Virginia Rural Broadband Coalition

virginiaAfter the release of Governor Terry McAuliffe’s 2019-2020 biennial budget, which includes an increase in rural broadband funding, advocates of rural broadband announce the formation of the Virginia Rural Broadband Coalition (VRBC).

The VRBC represents the many stakeholders who have a role in developing policies to encourage broadband expansion across rural Virginia.

Members of the steering committee include: Erv Blythe, vice president emeritus for information technology and cio of Virginia Tech (retired); Jeremy Bryant, director of planning and zoning, Amherst County; Paul Elswick, president and CEO, Sunset Digital Communications; Rob Jones, CEO, Alliance Group – coalition director; Mike Keyser, CEO, BARC Electric Cooperative; Joe Lerch, director of local government policy, Virginia Association of Counties; Casey Logan, vice president of engineering, Prince George Electric Cooperative; Laura Loveday, AICP, special projects and grants administrator, Culpeper County; Susan Seward, Chair of Sussex County Board of Supervisors; and Tom Swartzwelder, county administrator, King and Queen County.

Today, many individual localities are working hard to expand broadband access. These independent efforts are important in highlighting the severity of the problem for state and local elected officials. However, they lack the impact of a single voice for greater broadband connection across rural Virginia. With the absence of a single voice to champion this issue, there has been less urgency for policymakers to move quickly in solving the problem.

Virginia Rural Broadband Coalition members include business, government, electric cooperative and education leaders.

Blythe said that “to compete in today’s global economy, rural Virginia must have access to reliable and fast internet services, otherwise, we are not in a position to keep much less attract businesses and families to our rural regions of the commonwealth.”

The focus of Virginia Rural Broadband Coalition’s work would be to champion efforts to connect rural Virginians to the internet (business, government, and residential customers); educate national, state and regional officials about success stories in Virginia that are being deployed to connect rural communities; identify funding pools for greater deployment of broadband in rural Virginia; engage business and civic leaders as champions for coalition initiatives; and educate coalition members on broadband types that can be provided in rural Virginia.

With the leadership of the VRBC, General Assembly and the governor’s administration, along with the investments in communities, businesses, and infrastructure, rural Virginia can continue leading the way – strengthening the commonwealth’s economy, small towns and rural communities VRBC officials said in a statement.


UVA Basketball Fans!

uva basketball team of destiny
Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, by Jerry Ratcliffe and Chris Graham, is available for $25. The book, with additional reporting by Zach Pereles, Scott Ratcliffe, and Scott German, will take you from the aftermath of the stunning first-round loss to UMBC in 2018 through to the thrilling overtime win over Texas Tech to win the 2019 national title, the first in school history.

Dick Vitale on Team of Destiny: “This is a hoops story you will LOVE! Jerry and Chris capture the sensational and dramatic championship journey by Tony Bennett and his tenacious Cavalier team. UVA was Awesome Baby and so is this book!”

Ralph Sampson on Team of Destiny: “Jerry and Chris have lived and seen it all, even before my time. I highly recommend this book to every basketball fan across the globe. This story translates to all who know defeat and how to overcome it!”

Feedback from buyers: “Got the Book in the Mail Saturday, and could not put it down! Great read and great photography as well! Love all of the books I’ve received, but hands down, this is my favorite!” – Russell

Buy here.

augusta free press news
augusta free press news
augusta free press news