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Northam touts benefits of fast internet in Halifax

SoVaNow.com / August 03, 2020
More than 700 rural homes and businesses are getting high-speed Internet access. The development is significant enough that it brought Gov. Ralph Northam to Halifax County on Thursday after a stop in Danville.

The backdrop of the Microsoft SOVA Innovation Hub, and the future home of Mid-Atlantic Broadband Communities Corporation (MBC), was an ideal location to tout the economic and educational doors opened by rural access.

Halifax County Board of Supervisors chairman Hubert Pannell said, “We are overcoming barriers with a valued resource that would not be possible without these funds.”

Brian Ball, Virginia secretary of commerce and trade, said, “The broadband expansion allowing people to telework and accessing school assignments remotely are fundamental issues of fairness.”

“It is a challenge to telework and receive an education without broadband. I am proud of the [Virginia Telecommunications Initiative] award to help homes and businesses. Times are different for all of us, and the collaboration efforts made by all those here; I thank them for the team effort,” said Northam.

The state grant, awarded through the housing department’s VATI, will pay for 55 miles of ultra high-speed fiber optic cable to four areas: Omega to Aarons Creek, Lower Liberty Road, Cody to Bull Creek and Liberty to Highway 57.

State Sen. Jennifer Boysco from the 33rd district works with local leaders to reach all corners of the state.

“The VATI is great example of these initiatives. ... Broadband is the most important economic driver for our economy and way of life,” said Boysco.

“They [Halifax County] turned for help from a non-profit, Mecklenburg Electric Cooperative, to break the unfair disadvantage for residents,” said John C. Lee Jr., president of Mecklenburg Electric Cooperative.

“There is much work to do, and we are proud to serve Halifax County,” said Lee.

This will be a life-changing service where high-speed broadband services did not exist in most of the Southside rural areas. Empower Broadband, a subsidiary of Mecklenburg Electric Cooperative, is growing rapidly and connecting subscribers across the region every day.

Excited to have the SOVA Innovation HUB in the background, Tad Deriso, CEO and executive director of MBC said, “The broadband expansion will benefit so many in the community.” Plus, he shared the construction of the Hub is ahead of schedule.

The total project cost is $3.6 million, with MEC contributing $2.9 million, and $710,514 issued through the VATI grant to connect 703 homes and businesses to high-speed broadband.

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how much broadband money was spent on brick and mortar? foolish. MBC is sucking the grant money and not doing squat. This is how NPO's work...


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