WATCH: Gov. Northam to announce that Virginia will achieve universal broadband by 2024

By 2024, Virginia plans to have universal broadband — expediting the Commonwealth’s original goal by four years.

On Friday at the Southwest Virginia High Education Center at 1 p.m., Gov. Northam is set to announce that the state plans to invest $700 million in American Rescue Plan funding to make that a reality. Originally, the goal was to achieve universal broadband in Virginia by 2028. But according to Northam’s office, this funding allows for the state to expedite that goal.

According to Northam’s office, the majority of connections will be made within the next 18 months. The governor’s office said that while Northam reported that the state has successfully “bridged half of the digital divide,” around 233,500 unserved locations remain in the Commonwealth.

Since 2018, the governor’s office said Virginia has awarded around $124 million in broadband grants, connecting more than 140,000 homes, businesses and community staples.