Quincy, Massachusetts – May 15, 2023 – Breezeline, the eighth-largest cable operator in the U.S., will work with state and local partners in Virginia to extend the availability of broadband internet to nearly 7,500 unserved homes and businesses in eastern Caroline County and Essex County.
The initiative is being funded through a $15.2 million Virginia Telecommunication Initiative (VATI) grant, with additional contributions from Breezeline and the counties. VATI is a state-funded program administered by the Department of Housing and Community Development to help local communities expand their telecommunications infrastructure. The VATI grant, announced by Governor Glenn Youngkin last week, was awarded after a competitive bidding process that considered community need and benefit.
In addition to the new grant, Breezeline has recently completed construction on a $7.2 million, 150-mile fiber-broadband expansion to more than 1,400 homes and businesses in Mathews, Caroline, Lancaster and Middlesex counties, also funded by VATI with contributions from Breezeline and the counties.
“Breezeline is committed to expanding access to reliable, superfast broadband internet so that households and businesses have the connectivity they need to flourish in today’s digital world,” said Frank van der Post, President of Breezeline. “We are pleased to begin another major expansion effort in Virginia and thank our state and county partners for working with us to expand our reach even further into these communities.”
While the formalizing of the VATI contract with the Commonwealth, Breezeline and the two counties is underway, Breezeline will conduct field walkouts to ensure the final design can be completed for each county project. These activities, which will occur over the next 90 days, will include a survey of addresses, footage measurements and easement activities.
Once the VATI contract is executed and walkout and design are completed, Breezeline will begin the construction process. The timeline for construction and activation will be announced once preliminary phases are completed in the two counties.
The project is one of multiple private-public broadband partnerships that Breezeline has pursued to expand the reach of broadband across its service areas. With support from VATI, the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund and other partnerships, Breezeline has completed expansion projects in Virginia, St. Mary’s and Queen Anne’s counties in Maryland, and in other Breezeline service areas.