Henrico awarded $501,620 VATI grant to provide universal broadband

412 unserved addresses could receive high-speed internet service in about 2 years

More than 400 homes, businesses and other addresses in far southeastern Henrico County could soon receive broadband internet service following the approval of a grant through the Virginia Telecommunication Initiative (VATI).

Gov. Glenn Youngkin and the Department of Housing and Community Development announced the 2022 VATI grant recipients last week. Henrico was awarded its full request of $501,620 to support an extension of high-speed internet service to an estimated 412 addresses currently unserved by broadband providers. Those properties – all on the outer edges of the Varina District – include 376 residences, 22 businesses and 14 others, such as churches, nonprofit organizations and county facilities.

“Access to high-speed, broadband internet service is absolutely critical for students, families and businesses to succeed in the 21st century. It’s also a matter of equity,” Varina District Supervisor Tyrone E. Nelson said. “Because of that, the Board of Supervisors has long made universal broadband service a priority for Henrico. Thanks to the funding provided through the Virginia Telecommunication Initiative and our other partners, we look forward to making this essential service available to every corner of our county in the next few years.”

Henrico’s application, submitted in partnership with All Points Broadband, proposes a $6.5 million project through which the company and Dominion Energy would install the fiber to carry broadband service to all currently unserved areas of the county. Officials expect construction would take about two years to complete once a contract is finalized.

In addition to the VATI grant, the project would be funded with $1.4 million from Henrico, $1.5 million from All Points Broadband and $3.1 million from Dominion Energy. Henrico officials are working with the county’s congressional delegation to pursue federal funding that could reduce the county’s contribution to $725,000.

The Henrico Department of Information Technology is leading the county’s efforts to provide universal broadband service. IT Director Travis Sparrow credited All Points Broadband for helping to secure the VATI grant and applauded its commitment to providing affordable service. Initially, new residential broadband customers could expect to pay a $199 installation fee plus monthly fees of $59.99, $89.99 or $119.99 for three tiers of service – upload and download speeds of 50/50 megabits, 100/100 megabits and 1 gigabit per second, respectively. The company also will offer business rates and VOIP, or voice over internet, service.

“We wanted to make sure that whatever broadband service we brought to currently unserved areas of the county would be something that the residents would be able to afford,” Sparrow said. “We believe the plan that we’ve developed with All Points Broadband accomplishes that.”

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