Virginia plan projects universal broadband access by 2028

A Southside Virginia farm.
A Southside Virginia farm.(Sarah Vogelsong (Virginia Mercury))
Published: Sep. 7, 2023 at 12:11 PM EDT
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A five-year plan for how Virginia intends to spend almost $1.5 billion in federal broadband funds concludes the state could achieve “functionally universal broadband access” by 2028.

“In today’s increasingly digital world, having access to high-speed broadband is no longer a luxury, it is necessary in order to fully participate in daily life,” said Gov. Glenn Youngkin in a Friday release outlining the state’s plans.

Expanding broadband access has been a growing priority of lawmakers both in Virginia and nationally over the past decade. Virginia, whose history is intertwined with the internet’s rise, has been especially proactive. The state began developing a broadband availability map in 2010; in 2017, it launched the Virginia Telecommunication Initiative to spearhead expansion efforts. Former Gov. Ralph Northam pledged during his term to achieve universal broadband access by 2028, a date he later advanced to 2024.

Much of the more than $1.32 billion the state calculates has been invested in addressing the digital divide in Virginia has come from the federal government. Earlier this summer, the commonwealth netted $1.48 billion more through the federal Broadband Equity, Accessibility and Deployment, or BEAD, grant program.

The plans released Friday outline how the state intends to spend that money and the criteria it will use in awarding it to specific projects around Virginia.


NBC12 is a partner with The Virginia Mercury, an independent, nonprofit online news...
NBC12 is a partner with The Virginia Mercury, an independent, nonprofit online news organization covering state government and policy.(Virginia Mercury)