WASHINGTON — Today, U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) announced $25,000,000 in federal funding from the Department of Agriculture awarded to Scott County Telephone Cooperative to deploy broadband and expand access to high-speed internet in Southwest Virginia. Tomorrow, Sen. Warner will join Rural Utility Services Administrator Andrew Berke, members of the LENOWISCO Planning District Commission, and community leaders in Big Stone Gap, VA to celebrate this funding and touch on the importance of bringing high-speed internet to rural communities.
“For almost two decades, dating all the way back to my time as governor, I have stressed the need for access to broadband coverage and high-speed internet in every corner of the Commonwealth, and I was proud to negotiate the bipartisan infrastructure law that has made significant progress on this front,” said Sen. Warner. “Access to fast, reliable, and affordable internet is crucial to ensuring our rural communities grow and thrive, and I’m thrilled that this $25 million investment for Norton, Wise County, and Lee County will help our small businesses, students, and residents stay connected.”
“High-quality internet is crucial to reach services like health care, work, and educational opportunities,” said Sen. Kaine. “Every Virginian, no matter where they live, deserves access to affordable, reliable internet access. I’m glad this funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which I was proud to help pass, will help thousands of Virginians in Norton, Wise County, and Lee County do just that.”
The funding will be used to deploy a fiber-to-the-premises network that will provide high-speed internet to more than 17,000 residents, 1,018 businesses, 37 farms and 49 educational facilities in Norton City, Wise County and Lee County Virginia. This funding was awarded though the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s ReConnect Program, and funded by the bipartisan infrastructure law (BIL).
Sens. Warner and Kaine have long fought to expand access to broadband in Virginia. Earlier this year, the Senators announced over $1.4 billion in funding for the deployment of broadband throughout the Commonwealth. As a key author and negotiator of the BIL, Sen. Warner also previously secured $65 billion in funding to help deploy broadband and decrease costs associated with connecting to the internet, and Sen. Kaine voted for the BIL to help make the funding possible. As part of that funding, Virginia received $5 million to help make a strategic plan to deploy coverage.