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$7.9 Million in Broadband Expansion Projects Planned for Rural Virginia

The following was published in The News & Advance on June 6, 2019
by Rachel Smith

Lynchburg, Va. - Three counties in the Lynchburg area were among 14 in rural Virginia that on Thursday were awarded a total of $7,909,964 by the Virginia Tobacco Region Revitalization Region Commission to expand broadband services.

Bedford County was awarded $670,500 for its broadband project, Appomattox was awarded $600,000 for its Pamplin Area Fiber Broadband Project and Campbell County was awarded $156,313 for its 2019 Last Mile Broadband Southeast Project.

The grant comes one day after Comcast announced it would begin extending broadband services to more than 7,000 addresses in Smith Mountain Lake through a $3.5 million Last Mile Broadband Grant the tobacco commission gave the company in 2018.

The “Last Mile Broadband Program” grant provides funding for up to 50% of the construction for communities partnering with private sector providers to extend broadband access to unserved areas of the commonwealth. This is the second grant Bedford County has received from the commission. In addition to a $1.04 million grant through the Virginia Telecommunication Initiative (VATI) received in March, these grants will cover 50% of the cost to build out broadband in the county to unserved and underserved areas, said Traci Blido, economic development director for the county.

Blido said the Bedford County Board of Supervisors is matching the total of the new grant and the VATI grant of $1,710,500 to provide internet services to all of Bedford County.

“This is an exciting day for Bedford County and rural Virginia,” Blido said. “We’re thrilled to get this funding that will help us build out broadband in Bedford County.”

Click here to read the full article and learn how the funds will be spent.