The Department of Housing and Community Development’s (DHCD) Office of Broadband recently shared some updates on what was accomplished in 2022, and their goals going into 2023 and beyond. The final review process of FY 2023 Virginia Telecommunications Initiative (VATI) applications is underway. Information on the FY 2024 timeline will be released later this year due to the need to integrate federal funding through the Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) program. VACo will share more information as it becomes available.
The VATI Project Dashboard, which displays key project statistics for broadband expansion projects across the Commonwealth funded through VATI since 2021 is updated quarterly. In addition to a state map, individual projects may be selected and shown data on fiber mileage and locations services completion status, funding, contract information, and project status. The dashboard may be accessed here. Out of projects announced in January 2021, 16 are under contract. One project is completed. Fifteen are under construction. Out of projects announced in December 2021, 35 of the 36 projects are under contract. Fifteen projects are under construction. In total thus far, these projects have provided broadband access to over 26,700 homes, businesses, and community anchors in Virginia, and counting.
DHCD is also accepting applications for the Line Extension Customer Assistance Program (LECAP), which is meant to help with the costs of extending last-mile infrastructure to low-to-moderate income households. Eligible households include households that collectively earn at or less than $89,066 annually, and up to $133,599 in certain high-income areas. For an interactive map of maximum allowed annual household income by Zip Code, click this link. Households are not eligible for the LECAP program if the household is at or above $133,599 annually.
Lastly, DHCD submitted bulk challenges to assertions of coverage in the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) National Broadband map to ensure Virginia receives its fair share of BEAD funds. DHCD submitted an application to the FCC to conduct a statewide outreach campaign to increase enrollment in the Affordable Connectivity Program, and they expect to hear back from the FCC in March.
VACo will continue to provide updates as they become available.
VACo Contacts: Jeremy R. Bennett and Joe Lerch, AICP