Senator Mark Warner sat down with Virginia Delegate Terry Austin, local leaders, and representatives from Lumos – a local provider of fiber optic internet – to discuss Virginia’s progress in delivering high-speed internet to rural communities last week in Daleville.
The discussion celebrated the completion of the Virginia Telecommunications Initiative 1 (VATI1) grant which was a partnership with Lumos totaling $1,364,337 bringing fiber to 548 addresses, including 30 businesses.
Sen. Warner heard about Lumos’ efforts to help Botetourt achieve universal coverage. Sen. Warner also highlighted the record $65 billion in funding he helped secure through the bipartisan infrastructure law to deploy broadband and decrease costs associated with connecting to the internet. As part of that funding, Virginia recently received $5 million to help make a strategic plan to deploy coverage.
As part of that funding, Virginia recently received $5 million to help make a strategic plan to deploy coverage. To conclude the event, Sen. Warner participated in a groundbreaking for the next phase of local deployment. He also saw some of the real fiber that is being deployed to connect homes across Botetourt County.
As part of this conversation, Sen. Warner heard from Lumos representatives about the company’s efforts to help Botetourt achieve universal coverage by the end of the year in 2023.
During the event, the VATI2 build was launched which will bring service to 1,901 addresses in the county. When this build is complete in early 2024, Botetourt will have received universal broadband coverage, meaning that all residents and businesses have access to reliable internet service with speeds that meet or exceed the current federal definition of broadband service.
Over 50 people were in attendance, including elected officials, county administration, Lumos representatives, citizens, and community partners. Several citizens, including Bank of Botetourt President and COO Michelle Austin and Beaverdam Farm Sunflower Festival organizer Candace Monaghan shared how broadband has changed their lives. They both previously had to get internet access through wireless hotspots and MiFi devices but now they are able to connect to broadband access which has been a game changer for their families and their businesses.
“Broadband is top of mind for our entire community. During these challenging times, access and affordability are more critical considerations than ever before, however, we’re making the right moves and starting to really reap the rewards,” says Botetourt County Administrator Gary Larrowe.
“I’d like to personally thank everyone in the community for their patience and support as we all continue to work together to address this exceptionally important priority of broadband deployment in Botetourt County. I would also like to thank our partners at Lumos for their diligent work to improve the lives of our residents, businesses, and visitors by connecting them to reliable internet service.”
Once the universal coverage broadband project is complete, Lumos will have over 1,250 miles of fiber throughout the county, the milage equivalent of traveling from Botetourt County to Oklahoma City (1,115 miles), and then some.
Follow the county’s broadband journey at www.botetourtva.gov/broadband.
~ Fincastle Herald staff report
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