Clarke County Received Grant to Expand Broadband Service to White Post

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Clarke County has been awarded a grant of 209,513 dollars by VATI (Virginia Telecommunications Initiative) to help Comcast® expand broadband internet to White Post.

VATI gives funds to expand broadband to areas that are not served by any internet provider, as per a press release from the Virginia Governor’s office.

As per Brandon Stidham, Clarke County’s Director of Planning, the state money would be coupled with 119,463 dollars from Comcast® for an overall project cost of 328,976 dollars. The money will allow the fastest internet provider to give the DSL service of it to 97 commercial and residential locations in White Post.

The specific area that is to be served was selected based on many consultations among Clarke County, the White Post Homeowners Association, as well as Comcast®, shows the grant application. It includes parts of the community.

Brandon Stidham said that the grant has to be spent inside a year. However, Stidham said he would not know the intricate details and the exact timeline of the project until the officials of Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development and Comcast® are able to sit with him and discuss the matter.

The broadband deprived area is one a side of the railroad tracks of Norfolk Southern. To expand DSL lines of Comcast® across the tracks, it would need to get special permits from Norfolk Southern, and the previous application shows that it might take the railroad company more than a year to consider the permits.

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The fiscal agent of the project is Clarke County. The grant has come at a much-needed time for the county residents, as many of them are deprived of quality broadband. Brandon Stidham said that it is “a great example of (a local government) partnering with the private sector to bring wired broadband to an area lacking that service.”

The Governor of Virginia, Ralph Northam said, “In our 21st century economy, broadband connectivity is tied to every facet of our daily lives, from education to business to health care.” He also mentioned making high-speed internet access available to every individual in every area of Virginia is one of the top priorities of his administration.

The project will allow Comcast® to give all of its services and products to customers in the area. Besides broadband, those comprise cable TV, home security and telephone services. It was one of eleven projects in twelve counties to get total funding of 4.9 million dollars as part of grant allocations.

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