Northam proposes new spending on broadband access

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam says he wants lawmakers to approve spending $50 million to make it easier for people to get faster internet service.

Northam said Friday that his forthcoming state budget plan will include adding $50 million to the Virginia Telecommunications Initiative. The program encourages internet service providers to expand broadband access to underserved areas.

Northam said he wants the money to be part of a multi-year commitment of $250 million to boost broadband access. Lawmakers in both parties have long said that expanding high-speed internet to rural communities is a priority.

The Democratic governor will present his full budget next week. The Republican-controlled General Assembly will take up Northam’s spending plans next year.

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