augusta free press news

State, federal, local, private investment to bring high-speed internet to 90 percent of Virginians

virginia map new
(© josephsjacobs – stock.adobe.com)

Gov. Ralph Northam this week announced new grants that will advance Virginia 90 percent to the goal of achieving universal access to broadband and high-speed internet, placing Virginia on track to being one of the first states successfully charting a path to universal access to broadband.

The dramatic progress results from a combination of state, federal, local, and private-sector investments that Virginia has accelerated over the past four years. The governor said the pandemic highlighted the need for swift and bold action to extend high-speed internet across Virginia, and he thanked the partners who made this progress possible.

“Broadband access impacts every facet of our daily lives, from education to business to health care,” Northam said. “It’s a necessity for navigating today’s digital world, and this new funding will close Virginia’s digital divide with universal broadband by 2024.”

Virginia has taken dramatic steps on broadband since Northam took office in 2018, as Virginia’s first rural Governor in a generation. He set out a clear goal: achieve universal access to broadband within 10 years. The goal was bold, as Virginia’s broadband program was investing just $4 million a year and 660,000 Virginians did not have access to high-speed internet.

Since then, Virginia has invested more than $846 million to connect more than 429,000 Virginia homes, businesses, and community anchors to broadband service. Northam recently announced that Virginia has received a record number of local and private sector applications to leverage state broadband investments, putting the Commonwealth on track to become one of the first states to achieve universal broadband access by 2024. 

This week’s announcement comes as Virginia allocates more than $722 million to provide universal broadband infrastructure in 70 localities, which will close 90% of Virginia’s digital divide. The funding—from the Virginia Telecommunication Initiative (VATI) and the federal American Rescue Plan Act—will support 35 projects, connecting more than 278,000 households, businesses, and community anchor institutions to high-speed internet, and leverages more than $1 billion in private and local investments, pushing the total broadband investment in Virginia above $2 billion over the past four years.

“Virginia and the VATI program continue to be the national model for closing the digital divide and today’s announcement cements our success,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Brian Ball. “This round of grants will connect more than 278,550 households/businesses to high-speed internet, ensuring more communities across the Commonwealth have access to the necessities of modern life.”

The Department of Housing and Community Development administers the VATI program, which provides targeted financial assistance to extend broadband service to areas that are currently unserved by a provider. Projects were selected through a competitive process that evaluated each project for demonstrated need and benefit for the community, applicant readiness and capacity, and the cost and leverage of the proposed project.

The level of funding awarded is based on the infrastructure needs in the project area.

In this application year, VATI received 57 applications from 84 localities that partnered with 25 internet service providers, requesting more than $943 million in funding. Additional information on VATI is available here.

Here are the awards:

Northern Shenandoah Valley Regional Commission and All Points Broadband

$95,303,000.00          Award

$190,759,621.00        Leveraged

The project will build fiber broadband to 37,357 unserved locations and achieve universal coverage in Augusta, Clarke, Fauquier, Frederick, Page, Rappahannock, Rockingham, and Warren Counties.

West Piedmont Planning District Commission and RiverStreet Networks

$87,003,888.00         Award

$65,421,347.00          Leveraged

The project will build fiber broadband to 24,641 unserved locations and achieve universal coverage in Amelia, Bedford, Campbell, Charlotte, Nottoway, and Pittsylvania Counties when combined with other projects.

Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission and Firefly

$79,027,930.00          Award

$208,969,670.00         Leveraged

The project will build fiber broadband to 36,283 unserved locations and achieve universal coverage in Albemarle, Amherst, Appomattox, Buckingham, Campbell, Cumberland, Fluvanna, Goochland, Greene, Louisa, Madison, Nelson, and Powhatan Counties when combined with other projects. The project was supported by CSX through the Commonwealth Connect Fund.

Southside Planning District Commission and EMPOWER Broadband

$69,431,635.00          Award

$84,677,555.00         Leveraged

The project will build fiber broadband to 11,527 unserved locations and achieve universal coverage in Brunswick, Charlotte, Halifax, and Mecklenburg Counties when combined with other projects.

New River Valley Regional Commission and Gigabeam and All Points Broadband

$68,355,355.00         Award

$67,370,008.00         Leveraged

The project will build fiber broadband to 19,966 unserved locations and achieve universal coverage in Bland, Montgomery, and Pulaski Counties.

Mount Rogers Planning District Commission and Point Broadband

$65,883,228.00         Award

$33,052,600.00         Leveraged

The project will build fiber broadband to 27,450 unserved locations and achieve universal coverage in Smyth, Washington, and Wythe Counties.

West Piedmont Planning District Commission and RiverStreet Networks

$33,571,073              Award

$61,794,113              Leveraged

The project will build fiber broadband to 10,056 unserved locations and achieve universal coverage in Franklin, Henry, and Patrick Counties when combined with other projects.

Cumberland Plateau Planning District Commission and Point Broadband

$23,478,429.00         Award

$6,459,000.00           Leveraged

The project will build fiber broadband to 5,828 unserved locations and achieve universal coverage in Buchanan, Dickenson, Russell, and Tazewell Counties.

LENOWISCO Planning District Commission and Scott County Telephone Cooperative

$22,190,500.00         Award

$6,354,500.00           Leveraged

The project will build fiber broadband to 10,982 unserved locations and achieve universal coverage in Lee, Wise, and Scott Counties.

Hampton Roads Planning District Commission and Charter Communications

$21,120,053.50         Award

$13,839,522,50         Leveraged

The project will build fiber broadband to 12,223 unserved locations and achieve universal coverage in the City of Suffolk, Isle of Wight, and Southampton Counties. The project was supported by Primis Bank through the Commonwealth Connect Fund.

Loudoun County and All Points Broadband

$17,524,000.00         Award

$42,376,126.00         Leveraged

The project will build fiber broadband to 8,629 unserved locations and achieve universal coverage in Loudoun County.

Commonwealth Regional Council and Kinex 

$15,000,000.00         Award

$12,450,992.00          Leveraged

The project will build fiber broadband to 11,397 unserved locations and achieve universal coverage in Cumberland, Lunenburg, and Prince Edward Counties when combined with other projects.

Hanover County and All Points Broadband

$13,970,000.00         Award

$41,469,332.00         Leveraged

The project will build fiber broadband to 6,198 unserved locations and achieve universal coverage in Hanover County. The project was supported by Primis Bank through the Commonwealth Connect Fund.

Eastern Shore of Virginia Broadband Authority

$12,310,777.25         Award

$3,314,865.50           Leveraged

The project will build fiber broadband to 11,091 unserved locations and achieve universal coverage in Accomack and Northampton Counties.

Shenandoah County and Shentel

$12,176,662.00         Award

$20,733,235.00         Leveraged

The project will build fiber broadband to 4,139 unserved locations and achieve universal coverage in Shenandoah County.

Franklin County and Shentel

$9,832,456.00           Award

$14,722,315.00         Leveraged

The project will build fiber and wireless broadband to 3,508 unserved locations and achieve universal coverage in Franklin County when combined with other projects.

Bedford County and Shentel

$8,642,313.00           Award

$17,546,515.00         Leveraged

The project will build fiber and wireless broadband to 5,565 unserved locations and achieve universal coverage in Bedford County when combined with other projects.

Bedford County and ZiTEL

$8,523,908.31           Award

$10,208,347.39         Leveraged

The project will build fiber broadband to 4,114 unserved locations and achieve universal coverage in Bedford County when combined with other projects.

Culpeper County and All Points Broadband

$8,600,000.00           Award

$21,914,455.00          Leveraged

The project will build fiber broadband to 4,269 unserved locations and achieve universal coverage in Culpeper County.

Bath-Highland Network Authority and MGW

$7,876,800.00           Award

$3,113,200.00           Leveraged

The project will build fiber broadband to 2,470 unserved locations and achieve universal coverage in Bath and Highland Counties.

Dinwiddie County and RURALBAND

$7,532,055.35           Award

$13,116,640.00         Leveraged

The project will build fiber broadband to 1,622 unserved locations and achieve universal coverage in Dinwiddie County. The project was supported by the Cameron Foundation through the Commonwealth Connect Fund.

Campbell County and Shentel

$5,443,000.00           Award

$10,107,617.00         Leveraged

The project will build fiber and wireless broadband to 3,509 unserved locations and achieve universal coverage in Campbell County when combined with other projects.

King William County and All Points Broadband

$5,400,000.00           Award

$12,330,631.00         Leveraged

The project will build fiber broadband to 2,236 unserved locations and achieve universal coverage in King William County. The project was supported by Primis Bank through the Commonwealth Connect Fund.

Sussex County and RURALBAND

$4,896,892.00           Award

$1,678,571.00           Leveraged

The project will build fiber broadband to 2,267 unserved locations and achieve universal coverage in Sussex County. The project was supported by the Cameron Foundation through the Commonwealth Connect Fund.

Stafford County and Comcast

$3,398,155.60           Award

$2,364,380.00           Leveraged

The project will build fiber broadband to 634 unserved locations and achieve universal coverage in Stafford County.

Northern Neck Planning District Commission and All Points Broadband

$3,190,500.00           Award

$20,477,692.25         Leveraged

The project will build fiber broadband to 3,411 unserved locations and achieve universal coverage in King George, Lancaster, and Northumberland Counties.

Botetourt County and Lumos

$3,084,796.00           Award

$4,824,937.00           Leveraged

The project will build fiber broadband to 1,901 unserved locations and achieve universal coverage in Botetourt County.

Middlesex County and All Points Broadband

$2,050,000.00           Award

$8,453,887.00           Leveraged

The project will build fiber broadband to 970 unserved locations and achieve universal coverage in Middlesex County.

Roanoke County and Craig Botetourt Electric Cooperative 

$1,581,584.00           Award

$1,646,138.00           Leveraged

The project will build fiber broadband to 495 unserved locations and achieve universal coverage in Roanoke County when combined with other projects.

Roanoke County and Cox Communications  

$1,535,264.00           Award

$1,597,927.00           Leveraged

The project will build fiber broadband to 396 unserved locations and achieve universal coverage in Roanoke County when combined with other projects.

Roanoke County and Shentel

$490,000.00              Award

$510,000.00              Leveraged

The project will build fiber broadband to 213 unserved locations and achieve universal coverage in Roanoke County when combined with other projects.

Roanoke County and B2X Online

$170,609.00              Award

$177,572.00              Leveraged

The project will build a wireless broadband network to connect 290 locations and achieve universal coverage in Roanoke County when combined with other projects.

West Piedmont Planning District Commission and Charter Communications

$1,415,290.00           Award

$2,124,671.00           Leveraged

The project will build fiber broadband to 690 unserved locations and achieve universal coverage in Patrick County when combined with other projects.

Floyd County and Citizens

$1,310,267.00           Award

$1,111,725.00           Leveraged

The project will build fiber broadband to 723 unserved locations and achieve universal coverage in Floyd County.

City of Chesapeake and Cox Communications

$580,435.00              Award

$434,559.00              Leveraged

The project will build fiber broadband to 279 unserved locations and achieve universal coverage in the City of Chesapeake.


augusta free press
augusta free press