Roanoke households still need internet; Broadband Authority goes after grants to fix that

Published: Jul. 15, 2021 at 4:19 PM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - More than 30% of households in Roanoke County lack access to broadband, according to the Roanoke Valley Broadband Authority. It’s a similar situation in Botetourt and Craig counties.

But leaders with the RVBA say there’s money available to help fix that.

Frank Smith, president and CEO of the RVBA, said Thursday that the Authority wants to team up with Roanoke, Craig and Botetourt counties, along with internet service providers, to bring grant money to the region.

Smith said there’s an opportunity to tap into $49 million worth of grants being made available through the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development’s Virginia Telecommunication initiative.

He is calling on all parties to band together in pursuit of the money.

“There’s the old adage, all boats rise and fall with the same tide,” Smith said. “We want to make sure all communities rise. Because we live here, we raised our families here. We want our families to stay, and we want to continue to attract and retain talent.”

Next week, RVBA will host a kickoff meeting in downtown Roanoke where all parties can talk about a partnership.

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