ROCKY MOUNT, Va. – Having access to reliable and high-speed internet for some people in rural Virginia is difficult.
In Franklin County, 83.1% of people have broadband access, and the Board of Supervisors is working closely with partners to continue growing broadband access throughout the county.
On Tuesday, the Broadband Authority announced in a press release that progress has been made in moving forward with county-wide broadband access.
“Franklin County has approved agreements to utilize grant funding awards from Virginia’s Telecommunication Grant Initiative (VATI) program for two new projects to bring broadband to much of the remaining unserved areas of Franklin County,” the press release said.
Chairman of the Board, Ronnie Thompson, said the funding will go toward improving internet access in more rural areas.
“It’s here. We’re trying to make it, so our rural communities enjoy the same things as the folks do in town,” Thompson said.
Franklin County is not alone in the push – Senator Mark Warner visited Craig County and Botetourt County over the weekend to discuss funding for broadband.
“I’ve been pushing, urging, begging, that our country do bigger investments in broadband,” Warner said.
Warner discussed the bipartisan infrastructure bill in which over $60 million will go towards broadband expansion.
“High speed, affordable broadband is not a nice to have … it’s a necessity,” Warner said. “There is no reason why 98% of all the households in Virginia should not have high-speed affordable broadband by the end of 2024.”
Chairman Thompson said progress has already been made but there is still more work to be done.
“We are in the process now of getting our towers in place, we’re in the process of getting the fiber-optics in place,” Thompson said.
In Franklin County, you can check to see where the towers and coverage areas are on an interactive map.
“We’re way beyond the dream, we’re way beyond the talking, and we’re in the building stage right now. People are starting, and our citizens, are starting to take advantage and benefit from what’s been going on. Big time!” Thompson said.
The expansion projects are still in their designing phases and construction is expected to begin by the end of this year.