RUSTBURG, VA - Governor Ralph Northam’s Office announced Monday that grant awards from the Virginia Telecommunications Initiative (VATI) program would be distributed to 13 Virginia localities to support Broadband access to underserved regions. Campbell County, one of 84 localities that applied for funding, is slated to receive a $5,443,000.00 award ($10,107,617.00 leveraged) in partnership with regional private-service providers, and local provider Shentel, to increase access to fiber and wireless broadband.
The Campbell County Board of Supervisors, who also serves as the County’s Broadband Authority, has made comprehensive internet service a top priority over recent years. This additional funding will be applied toward the Board’s on-going initiative to offer County-wide high speed internet coverage, especially in limited access areas of the locality. With community input, the Board formed the Authority in 2019 to review and address immediate and long term broadband needs. To date, the Board has driven initiatives to increase access to homes, businesses and facilities, using CARES ACT funding.
VATI funds, coupled with CARES Act funding and American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds as well as leveraged grant investments from private internet companies, Shentel, River Street and Firefly, position Campbell County to now focus on service gaps in the County.
“Our Board is committed to helping our citizens in rural areas of the County receive high speed internet. With many working and learning from home, we realize the crucial need for reliable internet service not only for businesses, but for local families,” said Charlie Watts, Board of Supervisors – Brookneal District. “We look forward to applying these funds, in addition to CARES ACT funds, to improve the reach of our internet service framework.“
“We’re pleased to receive this funding from VATI and look forward to continuing the Board’s dedicated work toward meeting the technology needs of our residents, businesses, and educational system” said Frank Rogers, Campbell County Administrator. “The Board and staff will plan, review, and apply best options for impactful broadband expansion with support from federal, state, and regional programs and partnerships.”