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The Virginia Telecommunication Initiative (VATI) has awarded a $1.36 million broadband grant to service Botetourt County and service provider Lumos to cover some costs of a fiber project that will bring high speed Internet to 548 addresses, including 30 businesses.

This VATI grant will cover approximately 52% of the project. The remainder “will be contributed in partnership with Lumos . . . and Botetourt County,” according to a press release.

The completion of funding is enabling Lumos to start on installation timelines. The company says that many of the addresses will have service available to them by the end of this year and that the remainder will have service available by mid-2022. Residents will be notified when construction begins in their area.

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The project includes installation of 59 miles of fiber cable. It comes in addition to previously announced deployments in the county that will make service available to more than 1,400 residents and businesses. In all, officials estimate that 85% of the county’s residents will eventually gain access to broadband.

“This expansion makes it possible for more people in Botetourt County to have fast, reliable fiber internet, which has become a necessity because so many of us are working and learning from home,” Diego Anderson, Lumos Senior Vice President and General Manager, said in a press release about the Lumos broadband grant. “We are very much looking forward to this new project and excited to bring fiber optic broadband to more households in Botetourt County,”

This is one of 11 broadband projects in which VATI is involved. In all, the organization will grant $29.6 million.

A report early last year from The Pew Charitable Trusts looked at broadband initiatives at the state level. It said that Virginia supports last-mile projects through VATI and the Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission (TRRC). VATI was formed in 2016 and its funding grew from $1 million in 2016 to $19 million in 2020.

Lumos and NorthState – which provides broadband services in North Carolina – are part of Segra, which describes itself as one of the largest independent fiber bandwidth companies in the country. It is headquartered in Charlotte, NC.

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