Orange County receives almost $2 million in CARES funding for broadband improvements

Orange County receives almost $2 million in CARES funding for broadband improvements

ORANGE, Va. (WVIR) - Internet access in the rural areas of Orange County is about to get easier, thanks to grant funding from the CARES act.

Governor Ralph Northam announced late last week that $1,999,620 in CARES act funding is going to the county. That money will be used to build a county-wide network of free wireless hotspots and 31 miles of optical fiber for broadband.

This will give over 5,000 homes in the rural parts of the county access to the internet.

Orange County officials say the pandemic has highlighted the county’s need for better internet access.

“It’s here, it’s real, we’re actually connected to the internet and to one of the big exchanges,” Orange County Administrator Theodore Voorhees said. “Part of our system is lit up. I know we’re gonna get a lot of phone calls. We wanna get that service deployed as quickly as possible.”

The county plans to have the fiber installed and the hotspots up and running before the end of the year to meet the CARES act requirement.

“There are many folks out there who see this infrastructure being built across the front of their property or near their neighborhood, and they’re all very excited about getting broadband,” Voorhees added. “And I think they just need to know that once it goes there, there’s a really good chance they’re going to get that service, but it’s gonna take a little time to get those drops to each home because right now, we’re focused on getting the wi-fi stood up.”

Copyright 2020 WVIR. All rights reserved.