The Virginia Telecommunication Initiative (VATI) has awarded grants totaling $50 Million to assist with the expansion of broadband in Virginia. Under VATI, localities partner with broadband providers to apply for matching state funding to bring broadband Internet services to underserved areas. Of this year’s grants, 7 awards went to localities who are partnering with companies who are members of the Virginia Telecommunications Industry Association (VTIA). Awards for 2021 include:
- $1,364,337 to Botetourt County and Lumos to bring high-speed, fiber broadband access to 548 serviceable units, including 30 businesses, through the construction of 59 miles of fiber-optic cable.
- $1,230,563 to LENOWISCO Planning District Commission and Scott County Telephone Cooperative to construct 73 miles of fiber at gigabit speeds in Lee County, and provide access to 679 total serviceable units.
- $449,381 to Mecklenburg County and EMPOWER Broadband to construct over 22 miles of fiber to connect 414 serviceable units to broadband at gigabit speeds, including 12 businesses.
- $65,776 to Halifax County and EMPOWER Broadband to connect 25 serviceable units to a regional fiber network in Virgilina.
- $2,276,110 to Albemarle County and CenturyLink to construct approximately 100 miles of fiber-optic cable, providing broadband access to 1,675 locations, including 455 businesses within the Box Holly/Taylors Gap, Campbell/Cobham, Milton Ills, Old Garth Heights, Snow Hill Lane, Tilman Road/Meriweather Hill, Advance Mills/Fray Road, Gilbert Station Road, and Jones Mills Road areas of the county.
- $1,482,678 to King and Queen County and RiverStreet to connect 524 serviceable units, including 12 businesses.
- $1,270,413 to Augusta County and MGW/Lingo to provide broadband access to 1,099 total locations, including 15 businesses in the McDowell and Deerfield areas of Augusta and Highland counties.
For 2022, the General Assembly and Governor Northam have again included $50 Million in the state budget for VATI awards. Applications for the 2022 awards are due on September 14 with the anticipated announcement of awards in late December. “VTIA member companies have been bringing advanced telecom services to our Virginia customers for over a century,” said Richard Schollmann, VTIA Executive Director. “These companies are well-prepared and eager to partner with more Virginia localities in the coming months, as renewed grant dollars allow for the critical expansion of high-speed broadband services to underserved Virginia residents in 2022.”
About the VTIA.
Founded in 1935, the Association represents the interests of a number of broadband and telecom providers in Virginia, including: Burke’s Garden Telephone Company, Inc., Lumen/CenturyLink, Citizens Telephone Cooperative, Inc., Empower Broadband Inc., Highland Telephone Cooperative, LUMOS Networks, MGW Telephone Company/Lingo, New Hope Telephone Cooperative, Pembroke Telephone Cooperative, RiverStreet Networks, Scott County Telephone Cooperative and TDS Telecom.