Franklin County is working on broadband access for more residents

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ROCKY MOUNT, Virginia. – Access to reliable, high-speed Internet is difficult for some people in rural Virginia.

In Franklin County, 83.1% of people have broadband access, and the Board of Supervisors is working closely with partners to continue to expand broadband access throughout the county.

On Tuesday, the Broadband Authority announced in a press release that progress had been made moving forward with countywide broadband access.

“Franklin County has approved agreements to use grants from Virginia’s Telecommunication Grant Initiative (VATI) program for two new projects aimed at bringing broadband to most of the remaining unserved areas of Franklin County,” the statement said. hurry.

Board chairman Ronnie Thompson said the funding will be used to improve internet access in more rural areas.

“It’s here. We’re trying to make sure that our rural communities enjoy the same things that people in the city enjoy,” Thompson said.

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Franklin County isn’t the only one pushing — Sen. Mark Warner visited Craig and Botetourt counties over the weekend to discuss broadband funding.

“I pushed, urged, begged, that our country make bigger investments in broadband,” Warner said.

Warner discussed the bipartisan infrastructure bill in which more than $60 million will go towards broadband expansion.

“High-speed, affordable broadband is not a good thing to have…it’s a necessity,” Warner said. “There’s no reason why 98% of all Virginia households won’t have affordable high-speed broadband by the end of 2024.”

President Thompson said progress had already been made but there was still work to be done.

“We’re setting up our towers, we’re setting up fiber optics,” Thompson said.

In Franklin County, you can check where the pylons and coverage areas are on a interactive map.

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“We’re way beyond the dream, we’re way beyond the talk, and we’re in the building phase right now. People are starting, and our citizens, are starting to take advantage and benefit from what is happening. Big time!” said Thompson.

Expansion projects are still in their design stages and construction is expected to begin by the end of this year.

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