Virginia’s state government last week awarded a combined $20.1 million to 11 communities and their broadband network operator partners for projects expected to improve broadband access to more than 13,400 homes, businesses and other institutions across the state.
Operators that will benefit include CenturyLink, which is working with Albemarle County of a project that landed more than $2.2 million in state fund to help fuel the construction of a 100-mile fiber network; and Cox Cable, whose project with the City of Chesapeake to connect 69 units, including 16 businesses, gained more than $90,000 from the state.
The grants were given out as part of the second round of the Virginia Telecommunication Initiative (VATI), which is administered by the state’s Department of Housing and Community Development. The VATI previously issued more than $49.8 million in broadband grants during the first round of its 2021 program year, and in total has awarded more than $73.1 million since 2018 to help bring broadband service to 76,351 Virginians to broadband service, the state said in a press release.
“Quality broadband service is key to growing our economy, and learning, competing, and succeeding in today’s digital world,” said Virginia Governor Ralph Northam, in a statement. “This funding will have an enormous impact on thousands on unserved Virginians and bring us closer to our goal of every community in our Commonwealth having access to high-speed internet.”
The amount of money awarded was based directly on infrastructure needs for each project, and the press release said the second-round projects and funding requests included some that had been re-scoped and re-evaluated due to the impact of the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund.
Among other project awards, the Mount Rogers Planning District Commission and its partner, Point Broadband, won more than $7.8 million to help them extend a broadband network in the counties of Smyth, Washington, and Wythe, and the town of Damascus. Also, Mathews County and Atlantic Broadband were granted more than $4.2 million to build a regional fiber to the home network to serve 1,249 serviceable units throughout Caroline, Lancaster, Mathews, and Middlesex counties.
The other grant winners were:
- King and Queen County and RiverStreet, who took in more than $1.4 million to expand and existing FTTH network.
- Augusta County and MGW/Lingo, granted more than $1.2 million to construct and FTTH network to extend access to almost 1,100 locations.
- Franklin County and Briscnet, which landed more than $1.1 million for a fixed wireless network.
- Montgomery County and Gigabeam, given more than $919,000 to extend fixed wireless broadband access to 1,292 serviceable units, including 44 businesses.
- Goochland County and Port 80 Internet Services LLC, awarded more than $567,000 to help fund a 40-mile fiber network.
- Gloucester County and Open Broadband, granted more than $342,000 for a fixed wireless network.
- Halifax County and EMPOWER Broadband, given more than $65,000 to connect 25 serviceable units to a regional fiber network in Virginia.