Virginia awarded more than $16M in federal funds to deploy broadband
Politics, Virginia

Virginia awarded more than $16M in federal funds to deploy broadband

Rebecca Barnabi
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The Middle Mile Broadband Infrastructure Grant Program provides funding to expand and extend middle mile infrastructure and reduce the cost of connecting unserved or underserved areas.

The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act created the program.

Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine of Virginia announced Wednesday that more than $16 million of federal funding from the program will fund broadband expansion in the Commonwealth.

“Access to high-quality, high-speed internet is crucial in the 21st century,” the senators said. “We are proud to have played a key role in creating and passing legislation that continues to deliver substantial funding to Virginia in order to achieve universal broadband coverage across the Commonwealth.”

The $16,395,565 was awarded to the Mid-Atlantic Broadband Communities Corp. (MBC) to deploy broadband and expand access of high-speed internet throughout Virginia.

The funding will construct approximately 130 miles of new fiber to build eight open-access middle mile fiber segments, the physical high-capacity fiber optic cables needed to connect internet service providers to larger data centers and local networks, which will support service for residential and business customers and provide critical broadband connectivity to 32 industrial and business park sites in 12 Virginia localities across Central and Southside Virginia.

“We are absolutely thrilled and deeply honored to be a part of this transformative project, standing shoulder-to-shoulder with our electric cooperatives, ISPs, and other telecom providers,” President & CEO of MBC Tad Deriso said. “The substantial infrastructure investment in middle mile fiber by the NTIA and GO Virginia represents a remarkable triumph for rural Virginia, as it paves the way for significant strides in bridging the digital divide and attracting more economic development investments to the region. MBC has a proven track record of executing fiber infrastructure projects on time and within budget, and we eagerly anticipate collaborating with our funding partners, our telecom provider customers, and the communities involved to make this project a resounding success.”

Details on the middle mile fiber segments are:

  • The South Hill to Kenbridge segment will improve the capacity of the fiber route that supports the marketability and feasibility of the Kenbridge Commerce Center site in Lunenburg County as well as residential and business customers along the route.
  • The Blackstone to McKenney segment will support additional broadband capabilities at Fort Barfoot, a Virginia Army National Guard installation near Blackstone, VA for future rapidly mobilized national security operations and the expanding federal and private contractor workforce.
  • The Dinwiddie to Prince George segment will enable fiber connectivity for industrial, business, education, and biotech/pharmaceutical clusters in Dinwiddie County, Prince George County, and the City of Petersburg.
  • The MAMaC in Greensville County segment supports economic development in Greensville County by providing diverse fiber to enhance the marketability of the 1,600-acre MaMaC Megasite in Greensville County.
  • The Heartland Innovative Technology (HIT) Park in Prince Edward County segment will provide new diverse fiber to the recently established Heartland Innovative Technology Park.
  • The Sussex Mega Site in Sussex County segment will create middle mile fiber diversity for the Sussex County Mega Site, enhancing the site’s marketability for advanced manufacturing.
  • The Heartland Innovative Technology (HIT) Park to Cumberland segment will provide a diverse fiber route from HIT park to the north, to tie into other fiber backbone routes that extend to Ashburn, Culpeper and Charlottesville.
  • The Shannon Hill Regional Business Park in Louisa County segment will provide diverse fiber to the 700-acre Shannon Hill Regional Business Park for the park’s targeted industries of manufacturing, data centers, biotechnology, and logistics and distribution.

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca J. Barnabi is the national editor of Augusta Free Press. A graduate of the University of Mary Washington, she began her journalism career at The Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star. In 2013, she was awarded first place for feature writing in the Maryland, Delaware, District of Columbia Awards Program, and was honored by the Virginia School Boards Association’s 2019 Media Honor Roll Program for her coverage of Waynesboro Schools. Her background in newspapers includes writing about features, local government, education and the arts.