USDA ReConnect funding available for Central Virginia broadband projects

usdaRep. Abigail Spanberger announced funding for high-speed broadband internet infrastructure projects in Louisa, Orange, Goochland, and Powhatan counties through the USDA ReConnect program.

The loan and grant funding will be provided to the Central Virginia Electric Cooperative and distributed across its service area.

According to the USDA, Central Virginia Electric Cooperative will use a $28 million ReConnect Program loan and grant combination to construct a fiber-to-the-premises network encompassing 704 square miles.

The service area is expected to reach 17,023 households, 35 pre-subscribed businesses, 20 pre-subscribed farms, 15 educational facilities, 15 critical community facilities and six health care centers across Central Virginia—including in Goochland, Louisa, Orange, and Powhatan counties.

In October, Spanberger called for U.S. House and U.S. Senate appropriators to include ReConnect funding in the final budget legislation after the U.S. Senate zeroed-out funding for the program in its FY 2020 Agriculture Appropriations bill.

And earlier in the year, Spanberger introduced and passed an amendment to secure millions of additional dollars in funding for the ReConnect program in the House version of the FY 2020 Agriculture Appropriations bill.

“Last August, I hosted my Rural Broadband Summit in Louisa County. At the event, I heard firsthand how a lack of reliable high-speed internet was impacting families, farmers, healthcare professionals, and small business owners across the Seventh District. This gap in connectivity creates a clear competitive disadvantage, and today, we are one step closer toward closing this digital divide,” Spanberger said.

“Last year, I was proud to lead a 49-member push to protect ReConnect funding from elimination, and today’s announcement of ReConnect funding for Orange, Goochland, Powhatan, and Louisa Counties is welcome news for the people of Central Virginia,” Spanberger said. “I’d like to thank the USDA for prioritizing rural economic development, and I’d especially like to thank the Central Virginia Electric Cooperative for their commitment to boosting connectivity across our Commonwealth. This ReConnect funding is about more than just dollar amounts—it is an investment in our rural communities and a sign of confidence that the Commonwealth’s rural counties are excellent places to raise a family, start a business, and retire.”

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