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New budget to contain additional broadband funding for rural Virginia

Staff Writer |
Governor Terry McAuliffe announced that his 2019-2020 biennial budget will include $2 million to double the budget for the Virginia Telecommunications Initiative (VATI), which works with rural communities to expand telecommunications technology infrastructure.

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The Governor made the announcement while in Bland County attending a ribbon cutting for the Hollybrook Broadband project, one of the initial five VATI grantees.

Governor McAuliffe has made broadband access in rural areas of Virginia a top priority for his administration through public-private partnerships and the creation of VATI.

The VATI program is a state-funded program administered by the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD).

The goal of VATI is to create strong, competitive communities throughout the Commonwealth by preparing those communities to build, utilize, and capitalize on telecommunications infrastructure.

Last year, the Governor secured $1 million to kick off VATI and announced five initial grants in March of this year. All five of these projects are now underway in rural Virginia.

The Hollybrook Broadband project is the first phase in the effort to provide high-speed internet throughout Bland County.

The project began with a planning grant provided by DHCD, which developed a wireless broadband plan for the entire county and the VATI implementation grant provided $192,000.

Once in full operation, the Hollybrook Broadband project will be able to provide high-speed internet (50 Mbps / 5 Mbps) to over 350 homes and small businesses in the community.

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