Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam announced Friday that the commonwealth will use $700 million in American Rescue Plan funds to bring about universal broadband in Virginia by 2024.
“It’s time to close the digital divide in our Commonwealth and treat internet service like the 21st century necessity that it is — not just a luxury for some, but an essential utility for all,” Northam said in a statement.
“The pandemic has reinforced how important high-quality broadband is for the health, education, and economic opportunity, and we cannot afford to leave any community behind.”
The move would accelerate one of the goals Northam announced when he took office in 2018: to put a plan in place for universal broadband by 2028. Speeding up that timeline is one of the goals Northam and General Assembly leaders announced in May, when $4.3 billion was made available to Virginia in the American Rescue Plan.
Northam announced the move at the Southwest Virginia Higher Education Center, in Abingdon.