RICHMOND—This week, Governor Ralph Northam announced that Virginians living and working in 11 localities will gain access high-speed internet thanks to more than $29.6 million in grants awarded through the Virginia Telecommunication Initiative (VATI). The funding will support five projects, connecting more than 11,700 households, businesses, and anchor institutions to broadband service, and leveraging over $34 million in private and local investments.
Administered by the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD), VATI provides targeted financial assistance to extend broadband service to areas that are currently unserved by a provider. In his 2020 budget, Governor Northam made an historic investment of nearly $50 million in VATI funding. His proposed budget invests an additional $15 million in fiscal year 2022 to maintain this significant level of funding.
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.
THE FOLLOWING SOUTHWEST VIRGINIA AGENCIES/PROJECTS WERE CHOSEN FOR FUNDING:
Cumberland Plateau Planning District Commission and Point Broadband$16,285,217 Cumberland Plateau Planning District Commission will construct 1,312 miles of fiber through a partnership with Point Broadband. The project includes the counties of Buchanan, Dickenson, Russell, and Tazewell and will provide access to 8,335 serviceable units, including 82 businesses.
LENOWISCO Planning District Commission and Scott County Telephone Cooperative$1,230,563LENOWISCO Planning District Commission, in partnership with Scott County Telephone Cooperative, will construct 73 miles of fiber at gigabit speeds in Lee County, and provide access to 679 total serviceable units.