Botetourt County and LUMOS are pleased to announce that they have received funding for universal broadband coverage for homes and businesses from the Virginia Telecommunications Initiative (VATI) grant from the Commonwealth of Virginia. Universal broadband coverage means that all residents and businesses have access to reliable internet service with speeds that meet or exceed the federal definition of 25/3 service. This grant will allow delivery of Fiber-to-the-Home (FTTH) broadband connectivity to 1,901 addresses in Botetourt County. LUMOS is also planning additional expansion projects targeting universal fiber coverage in the area. Botetourt County will receive $3,084,796 in VATI grant funding.
This VATI grant follows two previous successful projects and a Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) funded CARES expansion project in Botetourt County serving a total of approximately 1,500 addresses and culminates the County’s work to deliver broadband connectivity to every residence and business. This initiative began in 2016 after a broadband demand study was completed, and the Botetourt Broadband Commission was formed by the Botetourt County Board of Supervisors (BOS). The Botetourt Broadband Commission goal is to advocate for the broadband expansion throughout the County to better serve homes and businesses.
“Botetourt County is ecstatic that we have been awarded this generous grant from the Commonwealth of Virginia,” says Chairman of the Botetourt County Board of Supervisors Dr. Mac Scothorn. “The last 21 months has shown us that it is imperative that all residents and businesses in Botetourt County have access to reliable internet service. This grant opportunity will allow universal broadband coverage to become a reality for our Botetourt residents and businesses. The Board of Supervisors is grateful to the Botetourt Broadband Commission who spearheaded this initiative in our County along with our partners at Lumos.”
“I am so pleased to continue our partnership with Botetourt County via this generational funding opportunity,” said Lumos CEO Diego Anderson. “Consumers in Botetourt will have access to ultra-high-speed fiber internet for working from home, virtual learning, e-commerce, and cloud computing. The benefit of this investment is a 100% fiber network that will help this community thrive in this new evolving Gig economy for decades to come.”
“On behalf of the Botetourt County Broadband Commission, we are deeply appreciative the Governor, through the DHCD, has seen the deep value our partnership with Lumos Networks will provide the citizens of Botetourt County”, says Walter Grigg, member of the Botetourt County Broadband Commission. “This investment in universal broadband coverage will not only bring service to the un and underserved, but it will also provide the infrastructure necessary for Botetourt County to be competitive in our ever-changing modern world. From educational opportunities to economic development, to property values, to remote healthcare, to advancing local agriculture; achieving universal broadband coverage is an accomplishment paralleled only by rural electrification efforts in the mid-30s.
Grigg goes on to say, “We also appreciate gaining access is merely the first step in achieving the full value of this new ‘utility.’ The efforts of our Broadband Commission are only beginning. Once universal coverage has been achieved at the physical layer, the Broadband Commission will be focused on awareness of access, affordability programs for those qualifying, and partnering with experts to assure we are maximizing its utility. From telemedicine to remote working, to advanced agriculture, to educational advantages for our children; and beyond.”
The estimated total project cost for the VATI project will be approximately $7.9 million. The $3,084,796 in VATI grant funding will be matched with approximately $4,824,937 from Botetourt County and Lumos, of which $2,602,514 will be from Botetourt County recovery act funds.
For more information about Botetourt County’s Broadband Strategy and to view a map of service areas, click here. Read the full Governor’s announcement here.