On December 14, Governor Northam announced that the Hampton Roads Planning District Commission, in partnership with Charter Communications, was awarded a $21 million Virginia Telecommunications Initiative (VATI) grant to bring universal broadband coverage to the City of Suffolk and Counties of Isle of Wight and Southampton. The grant will provide needed funding to build a high-speed, reliable, and affordable fiber internet network to areas of western Hampton Roads that are currently without service. In total, 12,223 homes, businesses, and community anchors will gain access to broadband.
Universal access to broadband will allow Hampton Roads to continue to develop as a nationally connected 21st century community and international information gateway, and provide our region the necessary infrastructure to support economic growth, new ways of learning, and access to healthcare services. As a regional effort, this project supports the Hampton Roads Regional Broadband Initiative, which is endorsed by all 17-member localities of the HRPDC, and will harness the opportunities presented by the subsea cables coming ashore in Virginia Beach.
HRPDC staff, along with representatives from each of the three participating localities and Charter Communications, worked together to develop a comprehensive strategy to provide universal coverage and prepare the winning grant proposal. Charter Communications and the localities are providing an additional $13.8 million to support the project. Build-out of the network is anticipated to be completed in 2024.