Greene County will not be getting state money for broadband expansion this year; at least not from the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development’s (VDHCD) Virginia Telecommunications Initiative (VATI) grant.
The county learned it was not one of the projects chosen across the state in mid-January to receive the $18.3 million in grant funding.
At-Large Supervisor Dale Herring, head of the county’s broadband committee, said he is meeting with the VDHCD this month to see what they could have done differently in their grant application—this is the first time the county had applied for the VATI grant.
“There were 39 total applications from 34 localities requested for a total of $43.6 million in funding,” Herring said. “It wasn’t one provider that received more grants than others. It seemed like the number of citizens impacted may have impacted, the higher the number the more likely to be awarded. As far as the request versus match Greene was one of the lowest, if not the lowest one.”
Greene’s proposed project would have given 320 households that are unserved 1 gigabyte fiber broadband internet. Funding for the $475,000 project would have been supported 30% by the grant and 70% by CenturyLink. The application sought $142,500 in VATI grant funds and $332,500 committed from CenturyLink, which is roughly $445 per household.
“This doesn’t mean that we’re dead in the water, we’re still doing other activities and we will be reapplying for this grant next year as well as other grants,” Herring told the supervisors at the Jan. 28 meeting. “And there’s nothing to prevent a locality from applying for the same grant through multiple agencies. We’ll keep moving forward; we’ve made a lot of progress in three years. We weren’t successful this time. But we will definitely be trying again, and we’ll get better at it each year.”
In surrounding counties, only Albemarle County received any funding: $291,000 to work with CenturyLink to expand access.