Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Gov. Northam Announces Over $700 Million Funding to Expand Broadband Access in Virginia

Gov. Ralph Northam will sign an executive order banning elective surgeries across the Commonwealth until further notice. (WYDaily/ Screenshot of Governor of Virginia's Facebook page)
Gov. Ralph Northam announced over $700 million investment toward expanding broadband access across the Commonwealth. (WYDaily file)

STATEWIDE — Gov. Ralph Northam announced that Virginia will invest more than $700 million to expand broadband internet access across the Commonwealth.

Virginia is allocating more than $722 million to provide universal broadband infrastructure in 70 localities

The funding from the Virginia Telecommunication Initiative (VATI) and the federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) will put Virginia on track to being one of the first states to achieve universal access to broadband by 2024.

Northam said that the pandemic highlighted the need to extend high-speed internet across Virginia.

“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.”

According to Northam’s office, Virginia has invested over $846 million to connect more than 429,000 Virginia homes, businesses and community anchors to broadband service since Northam took office in 2018.

The new funding 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.

Te funding pushes the total broadband investment in Virginia above $2 billion over the past four years.

The Department of Housing and Community Development administers the VATI program, which provides financial assistance to extend broadband service to unserved areas.

Read the full list of awarded funds here.

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