Press Releases

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Jim Webb and Mark Warner and Representatives Tom Perriello and Rick Boucher today announced two grants totaling more than $21.5 million to expand broadband Internet infrastructure in Virginia. The grants, awarded through the Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), will support the deployment of broadband infrastructure in unserved and underserved areas, enhance and expand public computer centers, and encourage sustainable adoption of broadband service. These investments will help bridge the technological divide, boost economic growth and create jobs.

The grants are funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, supported by Senators Webb and Warner and Representatives Perriello and Boucher.

The two grants announced today will add 575 miles of new high-speed Internet infrastructure in Southern Virginia. The grants were announced during a press conference call with White House Chief Technology Officer Aneesh Chopra, Senators Jim Webb and Mark Warner, and Representative Tom Perriello.

“These projects are valuable in terms of attracting new businesses, allowing medical professionals to give better care, and giving tens of thousands of local residents access to the internet,” said Senator Webb. “Southside and Southwest Virginia have been hit hard by the economic downturn. It is our duty to provide this part of the Commonwealth with a fair shot at the future. I have consistently fought for the expansion of high speed internet in Virginia's rural areas and I am pleased the American Recovery and Recovery Act prioritized this funding.”

“Building-out the broadband capacity in Southwest and Southside Virginia is a critical piece of our effort to expand economic and educational opportunities in rural parts of our state,” Senator Warner said. “This investment will create enormous educational opportunities for young people and open new markets to our existing businesses and entrepreneurs that will add to the long-term economic competitiveness of these communities.”

Further information about the two grants announced for Virginia today:

Mid-Atlantic Broadband Cooperative: $16 million infrastructure grant with an additional $4 million in applicant-provided matching funds to add 465 miles of new fiber that will directly connect 121 K-12 schools in Southern Virginia to an existing 800-mile fiber high-speed network. By improving connection speeds for these schools from 1.5 Mbps to at least10 Mbps, these new fiber connections will allow the schools, many in isolated areas, to take advantage of distance learning and virtual classroom opportunities. In addition, the expanded fiber network will spur affordable broadband service to local consumers by enabling more than 30 Internet service providers to connect to the project’s open network.

Virginia Tech Foundation, Inc.: $5.5 million infrastructure grant with an additional $1.4 million in applicant-provided matching funds to add 110 miles of open access fiber-optic network between Blacksburg and Bedford City an existing network operated by the Mid-Atlantic Broadband Cooperative. The resulting network will cross six counties in Virginia’s Appalachian region, and provide direct high-speed connections to Virginia Tech’s main campus in Blacksburg and the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine in Roanoke, enhancing the ability for both institutions to collaborate on cutting-edge medical and other scientific research with institutions in the United States and abroad.

“This is a huge boost for Southside Virginia, benefiting our kids' educational success in the short term and building our region's long-term competitive advantage for the 21st Century,” said Representative Perrriello. “I'm thrilled these stimulus funds will expand Internet access for consumers in our small towns and rural communities, giving our workforce the competitive edge they deserve.”

NTIA received more than 1,800 applications during the first BTOP funding round and is currently awarding grants on a rolling basis. Including today’s announcement, NTIA has now awarded 19 grants totaling approximately $228 million under the program. In addition, NTIA has awarded $97 million in mapping and planning grants to 51 states and territories. A second round of BTOP applications will be accepted through March 15, 2010.

Representative Boucher, who represents communities benefiting from the awards announced today said, “These federal funds will provide many more residents in the Ninth Congressional District with access to high speed Internet services. Just as first canals, then railroads and then highways were major arteries of commerce in earlier eras, in the 21st Century, access to broadband will be a defining feature of economic success for rural communities. Step by positive step our expanding broadband infrastructure is assuring that Southwest Virginia’s communities will be at the center of economic opportunity and these federal funds will help us achieve this goal.”

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act provided a total of $7.2 billion to NTIA and RUS to fund projects that will expand access to and adoption of broadband services. Of that funding, NTIA will utilize $4.7 billion for grants to deploy broadband infrastructure, expand public computer center capacity, and encourage sustainable adoption of broadband service. RUS will use $2.5 billion in budget authority to support grants and loans to facilitate broadband deployment in primarily rural communities. NTIA plans to announce all grant awards by September 30, 2010.

“By expanding broadband Internet access in unserved and underserved parts of Virginia, we can bring new opportunities for jobs, innovation, and economic growth to these communities,” said White House Chief Technology Officer Aneesh Chopra. “The grants announced today will also help improve education in rural parts of the state, facilitate scientific and medical research at Virginia universities, and lay the groundwork for more consumers to ultimately get affordable broadband service where they live.”


UPDATE: Here is a list of the 121 schools that will benefit from the $16 million infrastructure grant to the Mid-Atlantic Broadband Cooperative:

County School
Amelia Amelia High
Amelia  Amelia Middle 
Amelia  Amelia Elementary
Amelia  School Board Office
Bedford Moneta Elementary
Bedford Body Camp School
Bedford Huddleston Elementary
Bedford Otter River Elementary
Bedford Bedford Middle School
Bedford Liberty High
Bedford Big Island Elementary
Bedford Goodview Elementary
Bedford Staunton River Middle
Bedford Staunton River High
Bedford Stewardsville Elementary
Bedford Montvale Elementary
Bedford Thaxton Elementary
Bedford Bedford Primary
Bedford Bedford Elementary
Bedford School Board Office
Bedford Boonsboro Elementary
Bedford New London Academy Elementary
Bedford Thomas Jefferson Elementary
Bedford Forest Middle
Bedford Jefferson Forest Middle
Bedford Forest Elementary
Buckingham Dillwyn Elementary
Buckingham Gold Hill Elementary
Buckingham Buckingham Primary
Buckingham Buckingham Middle 
Buckingham Buckingham High
Buckingham School Board Office
Buckingham Dillwyn Primary
Campbell Brookville High
Campbell Brookville Middle
Campbell Leesville Rd Elementary
Campbell Tomahawk Elementary
Campbell Fray Educational Center
Campbell Rustburg Elementary
Campbell Rustburg Middle
Campbell Rustburg High
Campbell School Board Office
Campbell Campbell County Tech Center
Campbell Yellow Branch Elementary
Campbell Brookneal Elementary
Campbell William Campbell Combined
Campbell Altavista Elementary
Campbell Altavista Combined
Campbell Gladys Elementary
Campbell Concord Elementary
Cumberland School Board Office
Cumberland Adult Education Center
Cumberland Cumberland Elementary 
Cumberland Cumberland High & Middle
Franklin Boones Mill Elementary
Franklin Burnt Chimney Elementary
Franklin Center For Appc Tech
Franklin School Board Office
Franklin Rocky Mount Elementary
Franklin Franklin County High
Franklin Lee Wade Elementary
Franklin Glade Hill Elementary
Franklin Ferrum Elementary
Franklin Ben Franklin Middle East
Franklin Ben Franklin Middle West
Franklin Callaway Elementary
Franklin Snow Creek School
Franklin Sontag School
Franklin Dudley Elementary
Franklin Henry Elementary
Greensville Greensville Elementary
Greensville Bellfield Elementary
Greensville Eward Wyatt Middle
Greensville Greensville High
Greensville School Board Office
Henry Axton Elementary
Henry Carver Elementary
Henry John D Bassett High
Henry Campbell Court Elementary
Henry Stanleytown Elementary
Henry John-Redd Smith Elementary
Henry Collinsville Primary
Henry Drewery Mason Elementary
Henry Magna Vista High
Henry Rich Acres Elementary
Henry Sanville Elementary
Henry Irisburg Elementary
Henry Mount Olivet Elementary
Henry Fieldale Collinsville Middle 
Henry Laurel Park Middle
Henry Henry County Admin 
Patrick Patrick County High
Patrick Blue Ridge Elementary
Patrick Meadows of Dan Elementary
Patrick Woolwine Elementary
Patrick School Board Office
Patrick Stuart Elementary
Patrick Hardin Reynolds Elementary
Patrick Patrick Springs Elementary
Pittsylvania Brosville Elementary
Pittsylvania Chatham Elementary
Pittsylvania Gretna Elementary
Pittsylvania John L Hurt Jr. Elementary
Pittsylvania Mount Airy Elementary
Pittsylvania Southside Elementary
Pittsylvania Stony Mill Elementary
Pittsylvania Tunsall Middle
Pittsylvania Tunstall High
Pittsylvania Twin Springs Elementary
Pittsylvania Union Hall Elementary
Pittsylvania Chatham High
Prince Edward School Board Office
Prince Edward Prince Edward Elementary
Prince Edward Prince Edward Middle
Prince Edward Prince Edward High
Sussex Jefferson Elementary
Sussex Ellen W Chambliss Elementary
Sussex Sussex Centeral High
Sussex Sussex Central Middle
Sussex School Board Office
Sussex Annie B. Jackson Elementary