Press Releases

Sens. Warner, Webb announce $26 million in grants for rural broadband expansion

Grants will provide high-speed, affordable broadband and create jobs

Aug 19 2010

WASHINGTON – U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Jim Webb announced today that Virginia has received a combined $26 million in federal grants for three regional projects that will expand rural broadband access, creating hundreds of jobs and providing a platform for additional economic activity and job creation.  The U.S. Department of Commerce grants target rural and economically distressed areas with low rates of broadband accessibility. 

The grants include $10 million for the Mid-Atlantic Broadband cooperative in southeastern Virginia, $9 million for the Citizens’ Telephone Cooperative in the New River Valley and almost $7 million for the County of Rockbridge’s Rockbridge Broadband Initiative.

“Expanding access to broadband technology levels the playing field for many of our rural communities, creating short-term jobs while promoting longer-term economic opportunities,” Senator Warner said. “These grants represent a great investment that enhances access to online education and other public services, and helps local businesses compete across a global marketplace.”

Grantees and amounts are listed below:

Mid-Atlantic Broadband Cooperative (MBC) - $10,023,247           

MBC will construct 170 miles of new fiber to complement its existing network in southeastern Virginia, providing backbone access for Franklin, Southampton, Isle of Wight, Surry and Suffolk.  As many as 84,000 people and 340 businesses stand to benefit from the grant, and MBC estimates the project will create more than 100 jobs.This build-out will deliver broadband access to 17 K-12 public schools, 33 public safety entities, four libraries, Paul D. Camp and Tidewater Community Colleges, four healthcare facilities and four government buildings and centers. In addition to partnering with Old Dominion University to bring educational, research, and other online interactive instructional opportunities to community colleges, the grant will enable greatly improved telemedicine, especially radiological imaging and the improved use of electronic medical records. 

Citizens' Telephone Cooperative (CTC) - $9,237,760        

CTC will construct 186 miles of new fiber to expand and enhance their existing network through its New River Valley Regional Open Access Network project. The project will deploy the new fiber in Wythe, Pulaski, Floyd, Giles, Montgomery, Roanoke and Botetourt counties. As many as 163,000 people and 1,300 businesses will benefit from this expanded broadband access.The project will bring broadband access to 32 K-13 public school buildings, three public safety agencies, both New River Community College campuses and other institutions of high education, four healthcare facilities and 11 government agencies and offices.

County of Rockbridge    - $6,993,399

The County of Rockbridge, which has a broadband access rate of below 40 percent, will use this grant to provide 134 miles of new fiber across west central Virginia through the Rockbridge Area Network Authority, a public-private partnership that includes local governments and Washington & Lee University. The new network will serve about 33,000 people and 1,300 businesses, and construction will create more than 100 jobs.Combined with nearly $3 million in matching contributions, this initiative will directly connect broadband to all 14 K-12 public schools, 23 public safety entities, four libraries, four institutions of high learning, three healthcare facilities and five government buildings and centers.

The U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration awarded these three Virginia grants as part of a $1.8 billion investment in nationwide rural broadband expansion.