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General Assembly investing millions into expanding broadband access

Broadband cords are pictured Thursday, Jan. 28, 2021, in Mankato, Minn.
Broadband cords are pictured Thursday, Jan. 28, 2021, in Mankato, Minn.(KEYC)
Published: Feb. 23, 2021 at 9:49 AM EST
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RICHMOND, Va. (WVIR) - The General Assembly is making significant investment in expanding broadband access in Virginia.

The move comes after a full year of virtual learning showed how desperate the situation is for many families and individuals. In Albemarle County alone, there are thousands of folks that do not have reliable home broadband.

Fifty-million dollars is being poured into the Virginia Technology Initiative’s grants, and a new pilot program for those grants will allow localities to apply for them without a broadband company or internet service provider as a partner, something that had previously been required.

“That’s not the direction that the Albemarle Broadband Authority has been going to date or is going at the time, but it’s nice to have that choice available to us in the future, as we look at issues with with connecting not just the last mile but but the the last people on the last mile,” ABA Chairman Bucky Walsh said.

Another program will allow electricity companies to continue to lay broadband cables as they continue work to modernize the power grid across Virginia.

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