$2 billion broadband investment announced for Virginia

Published: Oct. 19, 2021 at 1:46 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WDBJ/Governor’s Office Release) - Virginia has received a record number of local and private sector applications to match state broadband investments, putting the Commonwealth on track to become one of the first states to achieve universal broadband access by 2024, according to Governor Ralph Northam.

Virginia anticipates more than $2 billion in total broadband funding, thanks to local and private sector matching funds that go beyond the $874 million in state appropriations since 2018, according to the governor’s office.

“Broadband is as critical today as electricity was in the last century,” said Governor Northam. “Making sure more Virginians can get access to it has been a priority since I took office, and the pandemic pushed us all to move even faster. Virginia is now on track to achieve universal broadband by 2024, which means more connections, more investments, easier online learning, and expanded telehealth options, especially in rural Virginia.”

The Virginia Telecommunication Initiative is the Commonwealth’s broadband program, started in 2017 to fund public-private partnerships to extend broadband service to areas unserved by internet service providers, according to the governor’s office. When the most recent application round closed last month, the program received 57 applications from 84 localities, requesting $943 million to connect more than 250,000 Virginia homes and businesses. The applications leverage $1.15 billion in private and local matching funds. The Department of Housing and Community Development is reviewing applications and expects to award the funds by the end of 2021.

“Ensuring that rural Virginians have access to broadband is the number one way we can make sure they have equal access to the economic, educational and health opportunities that broadband provides,” said Broadband Advisory Council Vice-Chair Delegate Roslyn Tyler (D-75). “No Virginian should be left behind. Thanks to Governor Northam’s commitment to get universal broadband done, we’re seeing record levels of public and private sector matching funds, and we’ll have this critical infrastructure available to all Virginians more quickly than we imagined.”

“Broadband is a vital resource for communities across the Commonwealth,” said Broadband Advisory Council Chair Senator Jennifer Boysko (D-33). “Broadband access allows our citizens to connect to their workplaces, schools, and doctors, and broadens their opportunities and choices about where to live and work. The Northam administration’s investment in broadband, paired with these matching funds, will get universal broadband access to Virginians in record time.”

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