Governor McAuliffe Announces Broadband Grants
On Friday, October 30th, Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe announced $500,000 in grants through the Virginia Telecommunication Planning Initiative (VATPI). The VATPI program provides funding for communities to develop a comprehensive community-based telecommunications plan. Twenty-two letters of interest were received, representing 43 communities. 13 applicants were selected for funding, including a regional effort from Bath and Highland counties, which submitted an application based on the work done by the Bath-Highland Broadband Network Team. The team, with the assistance of a Community Development Block Grant from the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development, which was facilitated by the Central Shenandoah Planning District Commission, recently completed a Community Broadband Strategic Telecommunications Plan, and applying for this grant was the next step in implementation.
Governor McAuliffe said, “Access to high-quality Internet connectivity is one of the most critical tools for communities to grow, diversify and build a new Virginia economy. Providing adequate telecommunications in a community is essential for preparing our students and workforce, attracting businesses, improving medical services and providing a better quality of life for all Virginians.”
Secretary of Commerce and Trade Maurice Jones added “Quick, reliable and affordable access to the Internet is a prerequisite for community and economic development efforts throughout the Commonwealth. The Virginia Telecommunication Planning Initiative will help localities develop the telecommunications plan necessary to prosper in the 21st century economy.”
The Bath-Highland project was awarded $30,000 to follow up on the implementation of the conclusions recommended by the consultants who created the Broadband Plan,which suggested partnering with
private sector providers in implementing a number of possible solutions to increase access throughout the counties.