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Albemarle County Looks to Expand High Speed Internet Access to Rural Areas

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Many rural areas of the county lack adequate broadband Many rural areas of the county lack adequate broadband
ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va. (WVIR) -

More broadband could soon be on its way to more rural areas in Albemarle County.

Now, the county is asking people with limited internet to let them know where such services would be most needed.

In Esmont, Scottsville, Free Union, and others, broadband is almost nonexistent.

A 2019 Virginia telecommunications initiative grant could change that. But, before that happens, the county needs to know just how many people are lacking service.

Currently, more than 3,400 homes in the county don't have broadband internet.

“Multiple areas within the county that we're hearing from - so we've got a lot of work to do,” Mike Culp, the director of the county’s IT department, said.

It's been a long-standing issue, and Culp says it needs to be fixed for a number of reasons - and not just for streaming Netflix.

“It's quality of life just beyond the entertainment part,” Culp said. “It's also about learning at all levels. So, education is a key part, things with telehealth - being able to connect with your doctor, connect with other service providers to learn more about it - applying for jobs now most are online."

And so, according to Culp, many people who are missing out are not accounted for.

“Not having the top-end communication network that we need and deserve here in the Albemarle County is one of our goals to get us to the point where we're at the best or better than most anyone else,” Culp said.

That's why the county is asking people reach out to let the IT department know if their internet is old and slow.

Albemarle will be applying for the telecommunications grant to bring high speed internet access to hundreds of homes.

“We're working with multiple areas of the county, and we realize there's a lot more service that can be provided,” Culp said.

Now, the only other thing Albemarle needs to complete this project is for a service provider to apply along with it - like Comcast or CenturyLink.

For anyone with low quality or no internet access, click here to let the county know about it.

And if you can't access it via computer, you can call 434-296-5891 to report your information.