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Wittman Applauds Broadband Funding for Essex, Caroline Counties

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Rob Wittman (VA-01), co-chair of the Rural Broadband Caucus, applauded Governor Glenn Youngkin’s announcement of over $59.5 million in grants through the Virginia Telecommunication Initiative (VATI) to extend broadband service to underserved areas in the Commonwealth. 

In the 117th Congress, Congressman Wittman wrote letters of support to the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development’s Office of Broadband on behalf of all counties that asked in Virginia’s First District to request broadband expansion funding. Through this advocacy, Congressman Wittman played a prominent role in securing funding for Caroline County and Essex County. The Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development administers the VATI program, and projects were selected through a competitive process that evaluated each project for the demonstrated need and benefit for the community, applicant readiness and capacity, and the cost and leverage of the proposed project.

“As our world becomes increasingly more digital, it is vital that unserved and underserved communities have access to reliable, high-speed internet,” said Congressman Wittman. “Funding for broadband through programs like VATI helps ensure that Virginia communities are receiving the dollars they need to access important services like telehealth, online banking, and virtual education. I’m proud to support every county in Virginia’s First District who requests it, and am glad to have been an advocate for Essex and Caroline counties. I look forward to the significant impact this will have on these communities.”

Throughout his time in Congress, Congressman Wittman has advocated for broadband expansion through legislation including, but not limited to:

  • Introduced the Serving Rural America Act to require the Federal Communications Commission to establish a program for awarding grants to eligible partnerships for projects that expand broadband service

  • Authored a letter to former President Trump and congressional leadership in 2020, requesting robust funding in the CARES Act for rural broadband

  • Cosponsored the MAPS Act, which makes it unlawful for internet service providers to willfully, knowingly, or recklessly submit inaccurate coverage information to the FCC

  • Co-drafted the Broadband DATA Act, which requires providers to report service availability based on more granular geolocation rather than traditional census blocks to improve the National Broadband Map