Governor McAuliffe announces $500,000 in telecommunication planning grants

Governor-McAuliffeGovernor Terry McAuliffe announced Friday $500,000 in grants through the Virginia Telecommunication Planning Initiative (VATPI) for Albemarle, Augusta, Culpeper, New Kent, Bland and Pulaski counties and the town of Altavista. Two joint grants were also awarded to two regional projects including one for Bath and Highland counties and another for Alleghany, Botetourt and Craig counties, the city of Covington and the town of Clifton Forge. The VATPI program provides funding for communities to develop a comprehensive community-based telecommunications plan.

“Access to high-quality Internet connectivity is one of the most critical tools for communities to grow, diversify and build a new Virginia economy,” said Governor McAuliffe. “Providing adequate telecommunications in a community is essential for preparing our students and workforce, attracting businesses, improving medical services and providing a better quality of life for all Virginians.”

“Quick, reliable and affordable access to the Internet is a prerequisite for community and economic development efforts throughout the Commonwealth,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Maurice Jones. “The Virginia Telecommunication Planning Initiative will help localities develop the telecommunications plan necessary to prosper in the 21st century economy.”

Projects were selected through a two-phased process. Phase one was a letter of interest, and phase two was a detailed response. Twenty-two letters of interest were received, representing 43 communities. Of those 22 letters of interest, 13 applicants were selected to participate in phase II.

Funding for the grants is allocated in a three-tier system. Tier one included grants up to $75,000, tier two has grants for up to $50,000, and tier three has grants up to $35,000. The level of funding awarded is based on the telecommunication planning needs of the communities. Thirteen applications totaling more than $800,000 in funding were received.

The following projects were awarded funding through the 2015 Virginia Telecommunication Planning Initiative program:

Tier Level FundingLocalityAward
Tier IAlbemarle County$ 75,000
Tier IAugusta County$ 75,000
Tier ICulpeper County$ 75,000
Tier INew Kent County$ 75,000
Tier IIBland County$ 50,000
Tier IIAlleghany, Botetourt and Craig counties, city of Covington and town of Clifton Forge*$50,000
Tier IIPulaski County$40,000
Tier IIIBath and Highland counties*$ 30,000
Tier IIITown of Altavista$ 30,000

*Regional project

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