NBC12: Gov. Northam touts $722 million to expand broadband access in Virginia

NBC12, HENRY GRAFF

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam announced more than $722 million would be spent on universal broadband access. That would give 90% of the state high-speed internet by 2022.

“Broadband was important for everybody. No matter who you are, no matter where you are in Virginia, it has become a necessity. We saw that during COVID,” said Governor Ralph Northam, (D) Virginia.

At an event in Goochland County on Monday, the governor and other top state Democrats touted the expansion, which will support 35 projects across the state and bring high-speed internet to 278,000 locations.

“So, it is easy when you are listing all of the challenges that face a community; it can be easy to say, ‘well some of our county is connected,’ but that’s not everyone,” said Rep. Abigail Spanberger, (D) 7th District.

Hanover County will receive about $13.9 million. That would fund the fiber build-out, which would give access to more than 6,100 locations. In Dinwiddie County, about $7.5 million will connect 1,600 underserved areas.

“I bet we all have stories like that where the absence of connection dramatically weakens peoples economy, peoples health and their education, their enjoyment, their connection of quality of life,” said Sen. Tim Kaine, (D) Virginia.

At this point, the state is on track to become one of the first states to achieve universal access by 2024.

“By having this kind of broadband commitment, making it a reality, that promise that folks have been talking about for the last 25 years about will finally become a reality,” said Sen. Mark Warner (D) Virginia.

Governor-elect Glenn Youngkin has said in the past – politics aside – that the infrastructure money is good for Virginia. His team says the incoming administration supports expanding broadband.

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