Governor Glenn Youngkin has unveiled Virginia’s plans to connect residents to high-speed and affordable broadband. The strategy outlines how the state will utilize its $1.48 billion federal allocation to deploy high-speed internet networks to areas currently without broadband access.
Access to high-speed broadband is no longer a luxury but a necessity in today’s digital world. Governor Youngkin emphasizes the importance of ensuring all Virginians are connected through broadband to fully participate in daily life.
The 5-Year Plan and Volume 2 of the Initial Proposal detail the Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) program, which will be funded by the federal Infrastructure Investments and Jobs Act. The funds will primarily target the estimated 160,000 homes, businesses, and community anchors in the Commonwealth that currently lack broadband access.
Virginia has been a national leader in closing the digital divide, and this latest announcement further solidifies its standing. Secretary of Commerce and Trade Caren Merrick highlights that once universal broadband is achieved, efforts and funding can be redirected towards promoting digital literacy, improving healthcare, and reducing costs for all residents.
The BEAD program is part of a $42.45 billion nationwide initiative aimed at expanding high-speed internet access through planning, infrastructure deployment, and adoption programs. The Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) will oversee Virginia’s $1.48 billion allocation, building upon the work of the Virginia Telecommunication Initiative (VATI) to reach unserved regions in the state. In addition to expanding access, the DHCD will also prioritize affordability and adoption of broadband services.
DHCD Director and Chief Broadband Advisor Bryan Horn emphasizes the critical importance of broadband and the administration’s commitment to leaving no communities behind. Virginia’s VATI program has served as a national model for bridging the digital divide, and the state will continue its efforts to make broadband accessible to all residents.
Public comments for Volume 2 of the BEAD Initial Proposal will be accepted until September 19. Virginia has already allocated over $935 million in state and federal funding since 2017 to extend broadband infrastructure to over 388,000 locations in 80 cities and counties. This investment has been further leveraged by an additional $1.1 billion from local governments and internet service providers.
To learn more about Virginia’s broadband initiatives and to provide feedback on Volume 2, visit dhcd.virginia.gov/vati.