Broadband expanding in SW Virginia thanks to $2 million in grants

The Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority (VCEDA) recently awarded two individual million-dollar grants to local non-profit companies for the installation of high-speed fiber-optic broadband lines throughout the southwestern coalfield region of Virginia.

Frank Kibler, a senior planner with VCEDA explained how the grants will benefit the region:

"These grants will enable broadband networks to continue to develop throughout the seven-county, one-city region that VCEDA is marketing as Virginia's e-Region,"

It's a great example of how broadband is being used to reshape a local economy. As rural southwest Virginia struggles to be supported by its coal mines, high speed internet will allow new high-tech businesses to develop and others to e-commute from home.

Kibler sees the broadband project as a way to end the technology disadvantage that cities have held for years of rural areas like theirs:

"This broadband puts us where we are no longer at a disadvantage," he said. "In many ways we might have a significant
advantage over urban areas, especially when you take quality-of-life issues into account."

With projects like this, and the Community Broadband Toolkit developed by the Virginia Broadband Roundtable, Virginia is leading the way toward bringing affordable broadband to their businesses and citizens. Additional federal funding for rural broadband build-out, like that proposed in the economic stimulus package, will spur more projects to close the rural digital divide

$2 million in grants boost broadband in Southwest Virginia (Times News)

Community Broadband Toolkit (Virginia Broadband Task Force)

Proposed Economic Stimulus Plan Includes $6 Billion For Broadband (Speed Matters)