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Albemarle broadband project receives state funding

A project that will bring a CenturyLink Fiber Gigabit broadband service option to 837 homes in Albemarle County will receive state funding.

Gov. Ralph Northam on Wednesday announced more than $18.3 million in grants through the Virginia Telecommunication Initiative to support 12 projects across Virginia, including the project in Albemarle.

The local project, which will provide fiber to various parts of the county, will cost approximately $1.9 million. CenturyLink is contributing nearly $1.4 million and the Albemarle County Broadband Authority is contributing $291,300. The remaining $291,300 is coming from the state through the VATI program, which is a state-funded initiative administered by the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development.

“Broadband is a necessity for communities to attract business, for students to use educational resources, and for Virginians to receive healthcare through telemedicine,” Northam said in a news release. “My administration is committed to expanding broadband access to every part of Virginia, so that all of our citizens have access to the opportunities that connectivity make possible.”

According to information submitted with the grant application, the project will make fiber broadband service available to homes in about eight areas of rural Albemarle County, including around Buffalo River Road, Watts Passage, Coles Rolling Road, Scottsville Road, Green Creek Road and the unincorporated communities of Hatton, Keene and Howardsville.

The project will make fiber broadband service available to about 220 Albemarle County Public Schools students.

The application says that the services could cost between approximately $45 and $85 a month.

Northam’s proposed budget ups the total funding to further expand broadband to $35 million each year.

According to the news release, DHCD received 39 applications from 34 localities requesting $43.6 million in funding for this round of the VATI program.


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