Multiple southwest Virginia counties awarded grants to improve broadband infrastructures

Local News

RICHMOND, Va. (WFXR) — Multiple localities in Virginia have been awarded with grants to improve broadband infrastructure.

On Thursday, March 18, Gov. Ralph Northam announced the award of $20.1 million in Virginia Telecommunication Initiative (VATI) grants. The funding will support 11 projects, connecting more than 13,400 households, businesses, and anchor institutions to high-speed internet, and leveraging $18.8 million in private and local investments.

“Quality broadband service is key to growing our economy, and learning, competing, and succeeding in today’s digital world. 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.”

Gov. Ralph Northam

This is the second round of funding for the VATI 2021 program year, and in total, more than $49.8 million has been awarded for 28 localities, connecting over 25,000 households, businesses, and anchor institutions.

“With the historic investment made by Governor Northam and the General Assembly, the Commonwealth is showing its commitment to broadband expansion for areas in need. This round of grants will support the vital infrastructure needed for high-speed internet, ensuring more communities have access to the necessities of modern life.”

Secretary of Commerce and Trade Brian Ball

Projects were selected through a competitive process that evaluated each project for demonstrated need and benefit for the community, applicant readiness and capacity, and the cost and leverage of the proposed project. The level of funding awarded is based on the infrastructure needs in the project area.

The following area projects will be awared funding in round two of the 2021 VATI grants:

  • Mount Rogers Planning District Commission and Point Broadband ($7,870,000): Mount Rogers Planning District Commission and Point Broadband will extend its broadband network in the counties of Smyth, Washington, and Wythe, and the town of Damascus. The new construction will bring broadband access to 5,301 serviceable units, including 110 businesses.
  • Augusta County and MGW/Lingo ($1,270,413): Augusta County, through a partnership with MGW/Lingo, will construct a fiber to the home network to provide broadband access to 1,099 total locations, including 15 businesses in the McDowell and Deerfield areas of Augusta and Highland counties.
  • Franklin County and Briscnet ($1,107,700): Franklin County and Briscnet will construct a fixed wireless network in multiple locations throughout the County. The project will provide broadband access to 1,996 serviceable units.
  • Montgomery County and Gigabeam ($919,569): Montgomery County and Gigabeam will extend its broadband network. The new construction will bring fixed wireless broadband access to 1,292 serviceable units, including 44 businesses in Allegheny Springs, Elliston, Lafayette, and Shawsville.  
  • Halifax County and EMPOWER Broadband ($65,776): Halifax County and EMPOWER Broadband will connect 25 serviceable units to a regional fiber network in Virgilina.

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