WASHINGTON, D.C. (WRIC) — Rural Virginians will soon be getting increased access to a vital utility.
The United Treasury Department announced that Virginia is one of four states that will receive funds to expand access to high-speed Internet service in rural areas under the American Rescue Plan’s Coronavirus Capital Projects Fund. The Commonwealth will be getting $219 million.
According to the Virginia Farm Bureau Federation, the funding will expand broadband access in an estimated 76,873 locations. Around 28% of Virginia’s localities do not have access to high-quality broadband, which has an impact on the Commonwealth’s farmers and rural population.
“This is music to my ears,” the Federation’s President Wayne F. Pryor said in a statement. “Just like farms needed electricity and phone service a century ago, rural Virginia cannot fully thrive without broadband Internet. Anyone offline is missing connections to buyers, suppliers, news, educational resources and vital medical services. Rural Virginia will certainly benefit from this, and farmers too.”
Local governments that are in partnership with Internet service providers can apply for funding through a grant program run by the Virginia Telecommunication Initiative.
The other three states receiving funding are West Virginia, New Hampshire and Louisiana.