The Governor of Virginia. Ralph Northam said Friday that the the state plans to direct $ 700 million from funding to help bring broadband to underserved areas over the next three years. The move is meant to accelerate Northam’s 10-year plan to provide internet access for everyone in the state, pushing the target year from 2028 to 2024.
Northam also said Virginia has “successfully bridged half the digital divide, with an estimated 233,500 remaining unserved locations,” according to a statement.
“It is time to close the digital divide in our Commonwealth and treat Internet service as the necessity of the 21st century that it is, not just a luxury for some, but an essential utility for all,” Northam said in a statement. “The pandemic has reinforced the importance of high-quality broadband for health, education and economic opportunity, and we cannot afford to leave any community behind.”
The federal American rescue plan, an answer to the , aims to offer relief to American workers and assist with economic recovery, which includes the dissemination of . Pandemic closures , as Americans became more dependent on high-speed internet access to complete essential tasks while stuck at home.
Since 2018, Virginia says, it has awarded about $ 124 million in broadband grants and connected more than 140,000 homes, businesses and community centers. It says it is on track to be one of the first states in the US to achieve universal broadband service.