New state-level positions created to help expand broadband access to rural Virginia

Gov. Ralph Northman made the announcement in Pittsylvania County Monday

By Colter Anstaett - Southside Bureau Reporter

PITTSYLVANIA COUNTY, Va. - Help is coming to southwest Virginia and other rural parts of the commonwealth that don't have broadband internet access.

On Monday, Gov. Ralph Northam was in Pittsylvania County to announce the creation of two new state-level positions to address the issue.

A chief broadband advisor and deputy advisor will be in charge of creating and helping implement a plan to increase broadband internet access in rural areas.

"How we can look at funding, how we can look at grant opportunities so that we can fund broadband, because it is going to take some money," Northam said, describing what the plan will entail.

"This is going to take all of us working together. It's going to take Richmond, it's going to take the private sector, and it's going to take individuals like you that have experience in broadband and are willing to bring your ideas to the table."

Northam said his goal is for the entire commonwealth to have access to broadband internet within 10 years.

"I have kind of put my foot down, if you will, and said this is going to happen in 10 years. I would like to have it before (then.) I have three and a half years left in my term. We're going to work very hard, and if we can get it done before 10 years I think that would be in everybody's best interest," Northam said.

Dean Sigman is an operations manager with SCS Broadband, which is helping establish broadband access in the county.

He says the creation of the broadband and deputy broadband advisors is important.

"It's going to really help us out a lot, especially trying to speed things up and expedite things and get things done quicker for the county," Sigman said.

He said the company currently serves around 100 customers. 

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