Commonwealth of Virginia Office of Governor Ralph S. Northam

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE · December 13, 2021     Office of the Governor Alena.Yarmosky@governor.virginia.gov   Department of Housing and Community Development alexis.carey@dhcd.virginia.gov
Governor Northam Announces Virginia Deploys $2 Billion to Achieve Near-Universal Broadband ~ State, federal, local, private investment to bring high-speed internet to 90% of Virginians ~ Commonwealth now on track to be one of first states to achieve universal access ~
GOOCHLAND—Governor Ralph Northam today announced new grants that will advance Virginia 90% to the goal of achieving universal access to broadband and high-speed internet, placing Virginia on track to being one of the first states successfully charting a path to universal access to broadband.   The dramatic progress results from a combination of state, federal, local, and private-sector investments that Virginia has accelerated over the past four years. The Governor said the pandemic highlighted the need for swift and bold action to extend high-speed internet across Virginia, and he thanked the partners who made this progress possible.   “Broadband access impacts every facet of our daily lives, from education to business to health care,” said Governor Northam. “It’s a necessity for navigating today’s digital world, and this new funding will close Virginia’s digital divide with universal broadband by 2024.”  
Virginia has taken dramatic steps on broadband since Governor Northam took office in 2018, as Virginia’s first rural Governor in a generation. He set out a clear goal: achieve universal access to broadband within 10 years. The goal was bold, as Virginia’s broadband program was investing just $4 million a year and 660,000 Virginians did not have access to high-speed internet.   Since then, Virginia has invested more than $846 million to connect more than 429,000 Virginia homes, businesses, and community anchors to broadband service. Governor Northam recently announced that Virginia has received a record number of local and private sector applications to leverage state broadband investments, putting the Commonwealth on track to become one of the first states to achieve universal broadband access by 2024.  
Today’s announcement comes as Virginia allocates more than $722 million to provide universal broadband infrastructure in 70 localities, which will close 90% of Virginia’s digital divide. The funding—from the Virginia Telecommunication Initiative (VATI) and the federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA)—will support 35 projects, connecting more than 278,000 households, businesses, and community anchor institutions to high-speed internet, and leverages more than $1 billion in private and local investments, pushing the total broadband investment in Virginia above $2 billion over the past four years.   “Virginia and the VATI program continue to be the national model for closing the digital divide and today’s announcement cements our success,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Brian Ball. “This round of grants will connect more than 278,550 households/businesses to high-speed internet, ensuring more communities across the Commonwealth have access to the necessities of modern life.”  
The Department of Housing and Community Development administers the VATI program, which provides targeted financial assistance to extend broadband service to areas that are currently unserved by a provider. 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.   In this application year, VATI received 57 applications from 84 localities that partnered with 25 internet service providers, requesting more than $943 million in funding. Additional information on VATI is available here. Here are the awards:
  Northern Shenandoah Valley Regional Commission and All Points Broadband $95,303,000.00          Award $190,759,621.00        Leveraged   The project will build fiber broadband to 37,357 unserved locations and achieve universal coverage in Augusta, Clarke, Fauquier, Frederick, Page, Rappahannock, Rockingham, and Warren Counties.  
West Piedmont Planning District Commission and RiverStreet Networks $87,003,888.00         Award $65,421,347.00          Leveraged   The project will build fiber broadband to 24,641 unserved locations and achieve universal coverage in Amelia, Bedford, Campbell, Charlotte, Nottoway, and Pittsylvania Counties when combined with other projects. 
  Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission and Firefly $79,027,930.00          Award $208,969,670.00         Leveraged   The project will build fiber broadband to 36,283 unserved locations and achieve universal coverage in Albemarle, Amherst, Appomattox, Buckingham, Campbell, Cumberland, Fluvanna, Goochland, Greene, Louisa, Madison, Nelson, and Powhatan Counties when combined with other projects. The project was supported by CSX through the Commonwealth Connect Fund. 
  Southside Planning District Commission and EMPOWER Broadband $69,431,635.00          Award $84,677,555.00         Leveraged   The project will build fiber broadband to 11,527 unserved locations and achieve universal coverage in Brunswick, Charlotte, Halifax, and Mecklenburg Counties when combined with other projects.   
New River Valley Regional Commission and Gigabeam and All Points Broadband $68,355,355.00         Award $67,370,008.00         Leveraged   The project will build fiber broadband to 19,966 unserved locations and achieve universal coverage in Bland, Montgomery, and Pulaski Counties.    Mount Rogers Planning District Commission and Point Broadband $65,883,228.00         Award $33,052,600.00         Leveraged   The project will build fiber broadband to 27,450 unserved locations and achieve universal coverage in Smyth, Washington, and Wythe Counties.    West Piedmont Planning District Commission and RiverStreet Networks $33,571,073              Award $61,794,113              Leveraged   The project will build fiber broadband to 10,056 unserved locations and achieve universal coverage in Franklin, Henry, and Patrick Counties when combined with other projects.   
Cumberland Plateau Planning District Commission and Point Broadband $23,478,429.00         Award $6,459,000.00           Leveraged   The project will build fiber broadband to 5,828 unserved locations and achieve universal coverage in Buchanan, Dickenson, Russell, and Tazewell Counties.   
LENOWISCO Planning District Commission and Scott County Telephone Cooperative $22,190,500.00         Award $6,354,500.00           Leveraged   The project will build fiber broadband to 10,982 unserved locations and achieve universal coverage in Lee, Wise, and Scott Counties.   
Hampton Roads Planning District Commission and Charter Communications $21,120,053.50         Award $13,839,522,50         Leveraged   The project will build fiber broadband to 12,223 unserved locations and achieve universal coverage in the City of Suffolk, Isle of Wight, and Southampton Counties. The project was supported by Primis Bank through the Commonwealth Connect Fund.   
Loudoun County and All Points Broadband $17,524,000.00         Award $42,376,126.00         Leveraged   The project will build fiber broadband to 8,629 unserved locations and achieve universal coverage in Loudoun County.  
Commonwealth Regional Council and Kinex  $15,000,000.00         Award $12,450,992.00          Leveraged   The project will build fiber broadband to 11,397 unserved locations and achieve universal coverage in Cumberland, Lunenburg, and Prince Edward Counties when combined with other projects. 
  Hanover County and All Points Broadband $13,970,000.00         Award $41,469,332.00         Leveraged   The project will build fiber broadband to 6,198 unserved locations and achieve universal coverage in Hanover County. The project was supported by Primis Bank through the Commonwealth Connect Fund.   
Eastern Shore of Virginia Broadband Authority $12,310,777.25         Award $3,314,865.50           Leveraged   The project will build fiber broadband to 11,091 unserved locations and achieve universal coverage in Accomack and Northampton Counties.
  Shenandoah County and Shentel $12,176,662.00         Award $20,733,235.00         Leveraged   The project will build fiber broadband to 4,139 unserved locations and achieve universal coverage in Shenandoah County.  
  Franklin County and Shentel $9,832,456.00           Award $14,722,315.00         Leveraged   The project will build fiber and wireless broadband to 3,508 unserved locations and achieve universal coverage in Franklin County when combined with other projects. 
  Bedford County and Shentel $8,642,313.00           Award $17,546,515.00         Leveraged   The project will build fiber and wireless broadband to 5,565 unserved locations and achieve universal coverage in Bedford County when combined with other projects.
    Bedford County and ZiTEL $8,523,908.31           Award $10,208,347.39         Leveraged   The project will build fiber broadband to 4,114 unserved locations and achieve universal coverage in Bedford County when combined with other projects.  
Culpeper County and All Points Broadband $8,600,000.00           Award $21,914,455.00          Leveraged   The project will build fiber broadband to 4,269 unserved locations and achieve universal coverage in Culpeper County.   
Bath-Highland Network Authority and MGW $7,876,800.00           Award $3,113,200.00           Leveraged   The project will build fiber broadband to 2,470 unserved locations and achieve universal coverage in Bath and Highland Counties.  
Dinwiddie County and RURALBAND $7,532,055.35           Award $13,116,640.00         Leveraged   The project will build fiber broadband to 1,622 unserved locations and achieve universal coverage in Dinwiddie County. The project was supported by the Cameron Foundation through the Commonwealth Connect Fund.   
Campbell County and Shentel $5,443,000.00           Award $10,107,617.00         Leveraged   The project will build fiber and wireless broadband to 3,509 unserved locations and achieve universal coverage in Campbell County when combined with other projects.
  King William County and All Points Broadband $5,400,000.00           Award $12,330,631.00         Leveraged   The project will build fiber broadband to 2,236 unserved locations and achieve universal coverage in King William County. The project was supported by Primis Bank through the Commonwealth Connect Fund.   
Sussex County and RURALBAND $4,896,892.00           Award $1,678,571.00           Leveraged   The project will build fiber broadband to 2,267 unserved locations and achieve universal coverage in Sussex County. The project was supported by the Cameron Foundation through the Commonwealth Connect Fund. 
  Stafford County and Comcast $3,398,155.60           Award $2,364,380.00           Leveraged   The project will build fiber broadband to 634 unserved locations and achieve universal coverage in Stafford County. 
  Northern Neck Planning District Commission and All Points Broadband $3,190,500.00           Award $20,477,692.25         Leveraged   The project will build fiber broadband to 3,411 unserved locations and achieve universal coverage in King George, Lancaster, and Northumberland Counties. 
  Botetourt County and Lumos $3,084,796.00           Award $4,824,937.00           Leveraged   The project will build fiber broadband to 1,901 unserved locations and achieve universal coverage in Botetourt County.   
Middlesex County and All Points Broadband $2,050,000.00           Award $8,453,887.00           Leveraged   The project will build fiber broadband to 970 unserved locations and achieve universal coverage in Middlesex County.  
Roanoke County and Craig Botetourt Electric Cooperative  $1,581,584.00           Award $1,646,138.00           Leveraged   The project will build fiber broadband to 495 unserved locations and achieve universal coverage in Roanoke County when combined with other projects.   
Roanoke County and Cox Communications   $1,535,264.00           Award $1,597,927.00           Leveraged   The project will build fiber broadband to 396 unserved locations and achieve universal coverage in Roanoke County when combined with other projects.   
Roanoke County and Shentel $490,000.00              Award $510,000.00              Leveraged   The project will build fiber broadband to 213 unserved locations and achieve universal coverage in Roanoke County when combined with other projects.   
Roanoke County and B2X Online $170,609.00              Award $177,572.00              Leveraged   The project will build a wireless broadband network to connect 290 locations and achieve universal coverage in Roanoke County when combined with other projects.   
West Piedmont Planning District Commission and Charter Communications $1,415,290.00           Award $2,124,671.00           Leveraged   The project will build fiber broadband to 690 unserved locations and achieve universal coverage in Patrick County when combined with other projects.    Floyd County and Citizens $1,310,267.00           Award $1,111,725.00           Leveraged   The project will build fiber broadband to 723 unserved locations and achieve universal coverage in Floyd County.  
City of Chesapeake and Cox Communications $580,435.00              Award $434,559.00              Leveraged   The project will build fiber broadband to 279 unserved locations and achieve universal coverage in the City of Chesapeake. 

Governor Northam Announces More Than $2.5 Million in Appalachian Regional Commission Grants for Virginia Communities  

RICHMOND—Governor Ralph Northam today announced that Virginia will receive more than $2.5 million in grants from the Appalachian Regional Commission’s (ARC) Partnership for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization (POWER) Initiative. The funding will support broadband infrastructure expansion, workforce development, and job growth efforts through economic development initiatives.   “As our economy recovers from the impacts of COVID-19, it is critical to invest in Appalachia,” said Governor Northam, ARC Co-Chair. “ARC’s POWER initiative will continue to build on the region’s strengths and address its challenges, driving growth and opportunity throughout Appalachia. These projects demonstrate how regional collaboration can spur innovation, encourage entrepreneurs, diversify our economy, and support the critical infrastructure needed to bridge the digital divide, all of which strengthen Appalachian communities.”  
In February, Governor Northam was elected by Appalachia’s 13 governors to serve as the Appalachian Regional Commission’s states’ co-chair for 2021. The ARC POWER Initiative is a congressionally funded program that helps communities and regions affected by job losses in coal mining, coal power plant operations, and coal-related supply chain industries due to the changing economics of America’s energy production. $46.4 million in funding for 57 projects across 184 counties was made possible by the POWER initiative as part of the efforts to support economic diversification in the Appalachian region.
  “Ensuring Appalachian residents and businesses have resources to create thriving and robust communities has been a top priority for this administration,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Brian Ball. “This funding will foster employment opportunities, critical infrastructure improvements, and broadband expansion, helping to build a stronger and more resilient economy in the Appalachian region.
  “The downturn of the coal industry has impacted economies across Appalachia. That’s why ARC’s POWER initiative helps to leverage regional partnerships and collaborations to support efforts to create a more vibrant economic future for coal-impacted communities,” said ARC Federal Co-Chair Gayle Manchin. “Many of the projects we announced today will invest in educating and training the Appalachian workforce, nurturing entrepreneurship, and supporting infrastructure—including broadband access. These investments in our Appalachian coal-impacted communities are critical in leveling the economic playing field so our communities can thrive.”  
2021 ARC POWER Virginia Awardees:   Buchanan/Tazewell Wireless Communication Job Growth Corridor | Virginia Coalfield Coalition | $1,000,000 The Virginia Coalfield Coalition will build six new, fiber-lit cell towers along a 20-mile stretch off U.S. Route 460. A public-private partnership with a national wireless service ensures the coverage provided by these new cell towers will fill the current service gaps. The project is expected to serve 25 existing businesses and facilitate business retention and recruitment at industrial parks in the region.   Central Appalachian CDC: Bringing Community Development Investment to Coal-Impacted Communities | Appalachian Community Capital | $1,500,000 Appalachian Community Capital and its partners will create high-quality community development and entrepreneurial opportunities by helping communities and businesses access new sources of capital. Serving five central Appalachian states (North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia), the project will provide 40 coal-impacted communities with technical assistance, guidance, and outreach support. This will lead to a portfolio of investments that provide sufficient financial and social returns. Financial support for the project will be provided by the CDFI Fund at the U.S. Department of the Treasury, the Dogwood Health Trust, Goldman Sachs, and Ohio SE Economic Development Financial. The project is expected to create 15 businesses and 3,000 jobs, while also leveraging $400 million in private investment.  
Project Trace | LENOWISCO Planning District | $49,875 The LENOWISCO Planning District, in partnership with Invest SWVA, will determine the feasibility of adapting or creating an ag-tech tool to track and report food miles of specialty grains grown in Southwest Virginia. This tool will help capture the value that Southwest Virginia grains add to the industry, increasing grain market opportunities for area farmers and driving additional revenue.