CBS19: Thousands of people in Virginia without broadband access


A virtual roundtable was held on Thursday to discuss the status of broadband across the Commonwealth, including parts of Central Virginia.

It included Governor Ralph Northam’s Chief Broadband Adviser Evan Feinman, Representative Abigail Spanberger (VA-5), industry partners, and other broadband-specialized groups.

Feinman estimates 350,000 homes and businesses don’t have broadband access in Virginia.

In 2018, Northam created a goal of statewide coverage taking no more than 10 years. Since then, 108,000 connections have been made.

Aside from access, there’s a large affordability problem. According to Feinman, 1-to-1.5 million Virginians qualify as low- or moderate-income.  In times of financial stress, the Internet is one of the first bills to go unpaid.

While telecom providers aren’t turning off Internet access, bills can still accumulate over time. He says this means Virginians are restricted from core services, which are especially imperative during coronavirus.

“It’s young children whose educational quality is diminished, or right now, non-existent if they can’t tele-educate; it’s the elderly who can’t avail themselves of telehealth; it’s our veteran population who can’t access telehealth or telepsychiatry,” Feinman said. “And those are the most people living in rural areas on a per capita basis.”

Feinman said they hope to get tens of thousands more Virginians online by this time next year.

To learn more about broadband in the Commonwealth, you can go here.

Recent Posts

Feb 23, 2024
Local Issues

Spanberger, Garbarino Lead Bipartisan Bill to Track & Report Tick Bite-Associated Condition, Alpha-Gal Syndrome

The Congresswoman’s “Recognize AGS Act” Would Direct HHS to Make Alpha-Gal Syndrome a Nationally Notifiable Disease WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Representatives Abigail Spanberger (D-VA-07) and Andrew R. Garbarino (R-NY-02) introduced bipartisan legislation to allow for greater monitoring and reporting of alpha-gal syndrome (AGS) cases by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Alpha-gal syndrome […]

Feb 22, 2024

Spanberger Urges Health Insurers to Fully Cover Birth Control, As Required by the Affordable Care Act

This Effort Comes After Years of Systemic Noncompliance by Insurance Plans & Women Paying Out of Pocket or Facing Administrative Red Tape to Access Birth Control WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Representative Abigail Spanberger today joined more than 150 U.S. House and U.S. Senate colleagues in urging health insurers to improve access to birth control by […]

Feb 21, 2024

Spanberger Announces Sixth Annual Congressional Art Competition, Invites Virginia High School Students to Submit Artwork

The Winner’s Artwork Will Be Displayed in the U.S. Capitol Building for One Year Alongside Winners from All 50 States WOODBRIDGE, Va. — U.S. Representative Abigail Spanberger today invited high school students from Virginia’s Seventh District to submit original artwork for the annual Congressional Art Competition. Every year, Members of the U.S. House of Representatives […]