Virginia’s Broadband Status

The Center for Innovative Technology (CIT) www.cit.org a non-profit corporation in Virginia, the state’s primary driver for innovation and entrepreneurship, has just released CIT’s survey on the status of broadband in the Commonwealth.

Virginia is fortunate to have service providers deploying a mix of technologies including fiber, copper, cable, and fixed wireless to deliver fixed internet access throughout the Commonwealth.

The broadband demand survey called the “RUOnlineVA” initiative receiving responses from residents throughout the Commonwealth, found that many respondents still lack fixed internet access.

Karen Jackson, Virginia’s Secretary of Technology met with stakeholders in Many 2016 to identify strategies to expand broadband access in unserved and underserved areas. It became apparent that in order to effectively and efficiently expand broadband access, it is necessary to identify where the greatest unmet demand exists.

RUOnlineVA as the statewide survey has received strong support from multiple agencies, associations, local governments, and collected more than 15,000 responses from residents and businesses from 129 Virginia localities.

One finding indicates that almost one quarter of the respondents representing as many as 782,745 homes have options for fixed internet access. Also, almost half of the respondents are relying on technologies that are too expensive and/or too slow to support critical applications.

CIT after gathering data, estimates that over $1 billion has been invested by the private sector in the past three to five years to expand broadband in the state. This total includes over $14 million by fixed wireless providers, over $191 million by incumbent wireline providers, and over $800 million by the cable industry.

Communities and providers have obtained over $7 million in federal telecommunications funding from USDA alone over the past three years. The Commonwealth has awarded hundreds of thousands in funding to support broadband expansion and allocated $1.25 million in FY 2017 to fund construction for broadband infrastructure

The new state funding for broadband expansion recently announced by Virginia’s Department of Housing and Community Development referred to as the “Virginia Telecommunication Initiative” will provide financial assistance to supplement construction costs by private sector providers so that services are extended to areas that are presently unserved by any broadband provider.

Go to www.wired.virginia.gov/sites/default/files/RUOnline%20Virginia%201016%Report.pdf to view the report released by CIT on December 15, 2016 titled the “RUOnline VA Broadband Demand Report”.

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