Local officials react to announcement of broadband funding

Local officials react to announcement of broadband funding

~ Pulaski County to Achieve 100% Coverage for Broadband through a $29,122,669.00
VATI Grant and the Strategic Leveraging of an Additional $29,122,669.00 ~

December 16, 2021, Pulaski County was successful in receiving a
Virginia Telecommunication Initiative (VATI) grant to deploy a universal broadband
deployment project that would deliver a fibertothehome solution to more than 7,800
unserved residents, businesses and community anchors throughout Pulaski County. The
$29,122,669.00 VATI grant will leverage an additional $29,122,669.00 in both public and
private funding to effectively construct the $58,245,338.00 project.

Christmas has come early with the news of this award, and it will allow us to resourcefully
cobble four different funding resources to make this monumental project possible, not
costing the taxpayers of Pulaski County a penny. This has been one of the Board of
Supervisors top priorities for decades and it is beyond extraordinary that we have solved the
elusive riddle of universally deploying broadband to the remaining citizens in the County that
do not currently have access to this important 21st Century infrastructure”, stated Jonathan D.
Sweet, County Administrator. “The constellation of direct partners, to include Appalachian
Power and All Points Broadband, as well as our neighbors of Montgomery and Bland
Counties, were instrumental in the collective success of securing the necessary funding, and
now the real work begins to deploy both middle and lastmile fiber throughout the County to
boldly take broadband where broadband has never gone before.”

The Pulaski County grant award was part of a threecounty project totaling $135,725,363.00
with a $68,355,355.00 VATI award leveraged by $67,370,008.00 in private and other public
funding to include direct ARPA funds. The project will potentially serve nearly 20,000
unserved residential, business and community units in throughout the three jurisdictions.

This could be one of the most transformational public/private projects the New River
Valley has seen in the last 40+ years”, stated Joe Guthrie, Chair of the Pulaski County Board of Supervisors. “The robust demand for bandwidth to telework, tele learn and connect to
telehealth has grown immensely in the past couple of years, and providing our citizens with
access to the gold standard of broadband will more than adequately support the needs of our
citizens, businesses and institutions in every corner of the County.”

The project will involve installing fiber optic cable upon Appalachian Power’s utility poles,
with the added benefit of providing a more robust communications platform for the
company’s deployment of new electric meters and distribution automation (DA). The new
smart meters and DA equipment improve service reliability for power customers. Space on
Appalachian Power’s middlemile fiber infrastructure will then be leased to a private internet
service provider(s). This pilot program was made possible by the 2018 Grid Security and
Transformation Act, 2019 Broadband Pilot Program legislation