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County Broadband Initiatives

Isle of Wight County Broadband Initiatives

In today's day and age, access to high-speed broadband internet is paramount for success across all stages of life.  Isle of Wight County's elected representatives and Staff are committed to obtaining the Governor of Virginia's goal of universal broadband coverage by 2024, focusing on those rural portions of the County having little to no viable internet access.  In-depth mapping showing areas of Isle of Wight County affected by each project should be available from this page in the next few weeks.

The County has taken advantage of a variety of funding opportunities which have made closing the digital divide significantly easier.  Via State run grant program submittals and Federally administered provider assistance programs, Isle of Wight County is now in a position to capitalize on these various funding opportunities which will result in County-wide universal broadband coverage in a relatively short time frame.


RDOF (Rural Digital Opportunity Fund)

The Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) is a program created by the federal government, administered by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), to aid in the provision of high-speed broadband access to the most rural of areas. RDOF is a program between the FCC and a registered provider, meaning that the Isle of Wight County has no control over the selection, delivery, award process, etc. Program specifications state that the provider must have 30% of the project area completely built within three (3) years of notification of the award, and the entire project area must be completed after six (6) years of notification. There are several incentives to providers to build their awarded areas quicker than the timeline set forth. 

Isle of Wight County is working closely with Charter/Spectrum and RURALBAND to ensure an efficient permitting process with our various departments. The beginning phases of this project are underway and some citizens have likely seen Charter/Spectrum employees walking and mapping out your areas.  Charter Communications/Spectrum plans to begin construction of these projects in 2022.  As soon as specific construction information from Charter/Spectrum and RURALBAND is available it will be added to this website.


VATI (Virginia Telecommunication Initiative) Grant Application

The Virginia Telecommunication Initiative is a program administered by the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD), the program is a grant process by which local governments and internet and/or cable service providers complete an extensive application process. The DHCD then reviews and chooses the top applicants to receive program funding. 

The Counties of Isle of Wight and Southampton, along with the City of Suffolk, in conjunction with Charter/Spectrum and the Hampton Roads Planning District Commission, submitted a regional grant application for DHCD's 2022 VATI cycle, which totals around $38 Million. The County stands to service several thousand previously unserved residences and businesses in the most rural areas.  

On Monday, December 13, 2021, Governor Ralph S. Northam announced the 2022 Virginia Telecommunications Initiative Grant Awards.  The regional grant application, submitted by the Hampton Roads Planning District Commission on behalf of the Counties of Isle of Wight and Southampton and the City of Suffolk, were awarded $21 Million to go alongside the nearly $14 Million provided by the localities and Charter Communications/Spectrum.  More information will be forthcoming.


FAQs:

  • Information on specific areas covered and which program applies to that area is available in the online map linked from the image below.

    broadband map and link

  • When will construction begin on these Broadband Projects?

    • RDOF Project – Construction is projected to begin in the first half of 2022. Currently, there is no project conclusion date, but as information is provided to us, this site will be updated.

    • VATI Project – Isle of Wight County, Southampton County, and the City of Suffolk were awarded the VATI Grant on Monday, December 13, 2021.  Isle of Wight County and partners will begin communications with entities to determine a projected date for construction to begin. We will update this page with more information as it is made available.

    • 'Walk-outs' which is the act of driving down every road and noting every address point and existing pole, has begun for these projects. If you have seen a Charter/Spectrum vehicle, this is likely why.  You do NOT have to be signed up for any service for the company to account for your address

  • Do I have to subscribe to Charter Communications/Spectrum or RURALBAND services once my residence/business is connected?

    • No, you do not have to subscribe to Charter/Spectrum’s or RURALBAND's services. It is recommended that you allow your residence/business to be connected, as there may be issues associated with obtaining service at a later date should you or future residents decide to subscribe.

  • Am I eligible for connection if my residence is far from the roadway?

    • Isle of Wight County is working closely with Charter/Spectrum and RURALBAND to make accommodations for residences that are a distance from the paved roadway.  The VATI grant and RDOF fund allot for a certain number of feet from the roadway, which will be disclosed upon determination.

  • Is there financial assistance available if I can’t afford Broadband services?

    • Yes, Spectrum/Charter has a program offered called “Spectrum Assist” and the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program is available through the Federal Communications Commission.  Follow the links below to verify if your household is qualified.