Internet access opportunities are expanding in both Albemarle and Charlottesville.
That’s important progress. As advocates have argued, internet access today is as important as telephone service was 70 years ago: Without it, people are at a decided disadvantage in business, education, and social interactions.
Government loans for extending electricity and, later, telephone service helped solve those particular problems in the 1940s and ’50s; government involvement similarly is boosting internet access in our current era.
The Central Virginia Electric Cooperative and Albemarle County were awarded a state grant to improve rural internet access, and the county gave CVEC additional support.
The two recently celebrated the launch of a project that would benefit the Batesville area.
Three additional expansion points — Martin’s Store, Cash’s Corner and Zion Crossroads — are in the works.
Charlottesville, meanwhile, is making internet access directly available to city students.
Internet infrastructure isn’t a problem in the city. But that doesn’t mean students have the economic means access the web.
About 5% to 6% of students don’t have internet at home, the city reports, making it difficult nowadays to complete homework or research projects.
Charlottesville High, Buford Middle and Walker Upper Elementary schools now will have WiFi devices available for checkout. (The Jefferson-Madison Regional Library has provided a similar service since 2017.)
Charlottesville received a grant for the program from Gear Up Virginia, and T-Mobile donated the devices.
These two programs are welcome improvements for city and county.
Internet access is crucial in the modern age. These efforts will help narrow the access gap.