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STATEMENT: Wittman on New Grants for Rural Broadband

Washington – Yesterday, Governor Ralph Northam announced $20.1 million in grants awarded through the second round of the Virginia Telecommunications Initiative (VATI) to deliver high-speed internet access to many rural, unserved, and underserved Virginians. This second round of awards totaling $20.1 million will go to 17 localities through 11 projects. Three of those projects receiving awards are in the Virginia’s First Congressional District, which Congressman Wittman authored five letters of support for. The counties in VA-01 receiving awards are Mathews, Caroline, Lancaster, Middlesex, King and Queen, and Gloucester.

The approximately $6 million in investments from the VATI program will support construction of high-quality internet service to over 2,000 homes and businesses currently unserved or underserved in Virginia’s First Congressional District.

“The Commonwealth leads the way in bridging the digital divide. As Virginia is dealing with the continued effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, families, students, and business owners are doing their utmost to utilize telework services, distance-learning capabilities, and telehealth platforms,” Congressman Wittman Said. “These VATI awards signify another major milestone in bringing high-speed broadband to all. I am thankful that the Governor is continuing to invest in connecting rural Virginians, no matter the geography. I will continue to push for connecting those in the First District hindered by internet insecurity.”

Last September, Congressman Wittman announced that he authored five letters to the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development’s Office of Broadband in support of ten VA-01 counties’ FY2021 VATI grant applications to expand reliable high speed broadband service to rural Virginia. The Virginia Telecommunication Initiative (VATI) extends broadband service to currently unserved areas. VATI prepares communities to build, utilize, and capitalize on telecommunications infrastructure with the goal of creating strong, competitive communities.

This second round of VATI awards comes after a February 2021 VATI round one award to the Northern Neck, All Points Broadband, and the Northern Neck Planning District Commission that will to help construct a regional fiber-to-the-home broadband network to bring gigabit-capable internet access to an estimated 1,767 units households and small businesses in King George, Northumberland, Richmond, and Westmoreland Counties.

Congressman Rob Wittman represents the 1st District of Virginia. He serves on the House Natural Resources Committee and the House Armed Services Committee, where he serves as the Vice Ranking Member of the full Committee and Ranking Member of the Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee.