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.

Story By

Scott Smith

Scott Smith is the General Manager for Allegheny Mountain Radio and Station Coordinator and News Reporter for WVLS. Scott’s family has deep roots in Highland County. While he did not grow up here, he spent as much time as possible on the family farm, and eventually moved to Highland to continue the tradition, which he still pursues with his cousin. Unfortunately, farming doesn’t pay all the bills, so he has previously taken other jobs to support his farming hobby, including pressman/writer for The Recorder, and Ag Projects Coordinator for The Highland Center. He lives in Hightown with wife Michelle and son Ethan. In his spare time, he wishes he had more spare time, especially to ride his prized Harley-Davidson motorcycle.

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