Northam announces Virginia will invest $700M to ensure universal broadband access to all residents by 2024

Gov. Ralph Northam
Posted at 5:33 PM, Jul 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-17 17:33:33-04

ABINGDON, Va. — Governor Ralph Northam announced Friday that Virginia plans to invest $700 million of federal funds to provide universal broadband to its residents within next three years.

Virginia's investment will expedite the deployment of last-mile broadband infrastructure to unserved areas from 2028 to 2024.

In May, Governor Northam and General Assembly leaders released a joint statement outlining shared priorities for allocating the $4.3 billion in federal funds available to the Commonwealth from the American Rescue Plan.

The Governor made the announcement joined by U.S. Senator Mark Warner, State Senator Janet Howell and Delegate Luke Torian, who chair the General Assembly’s money committees, and State Senator Jennifer Boysko and Delegate Roslyn Tyler, who lead Virginia’s Broadband Advisory Council.

Northam says the majority of connections are obligated within the next 18 months. There is an estimated 233,500 unserved locations remaining.

“It’s time to close the digital divide in our Commonwealth and treat internet service like the 21st century necessity that it is—not just a luxury for some, but an essential utility for all,” said Governor Northam. “The pandemic has reinforced how important high-quality broadband is for the health, education, and economic opportunity, and we cannot afford to leave any community behind. With this historic $700 million investment, universal broadband is now within our reach. I am grateful to Senator Warner for fighting to include this funding in the American Rescue Plan, which will be key to the success of local connectivity efforts and to ensuring every Virginian has affordable, reliable, and equitable access to high-speed internet.”

According to Northam, Virginia is on track to be one of the first states in the country to achieve universal broadband service.