Project to spread nationally

Published 10:51 am Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Local TV white space projects in Charlotte and Halifax counties have been deemed pilots for the proposed additions of two million broadband connections across the country in rural areas by July 2022, according to Microsoft Corporation in a report.

The report cited that the company, along with Mid-Atlantic Broadband Corporation, are activating the largest homework network within the country, which had started in Charlotte and Halifax.

“We’re proud that Charlotte County is one of the two in the pilot program,” said Chairman and County Seat Supervisor Gary Walker at a July meeting of the Charlotte County Board of Supervisors.

The project is being supported by the Virginia Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission.

County Administrator R.B. Clark said thanks to the efforts of a lot of people, the projects in Charlotte and Halifax are the test market for the entire project.

“The network has been successfully piloted in 100 households across both counties and will reach more than 3,000 students in 1,000 homes by the end of 2017,” the report cited. “Students will have free access to their schools’ online networks where assignments and education resources are posted, extending their learning time beyond the school day.”

The project, which was first introduced during a November 2015 meeting of the Charlotte County Board of Supervisors, is an initiative between Mid-Atlantic Broadband Communities Corp. (MBC) and Microsoft Corp.

“Rural Southern Virginia is now home to a highly innovative solutions, which can serve as a model for other parts of the state and the U.S. and even around the world to help young people succeed in school,” Sen. Frank Ruff said in a Microsoft press release. 

The Homework Network has been cited as a model for affordable broadband that would allow millions of students across the country internet access.

“Expanding rural broadband access is a vital part of this administration’s work growing and diversifying the new Virginia economy and I am pleased that Microsoft has chosen our Commonwealth as one of the initial 12 states to launch this initiative . . .,” said Gov. Terry McAuliffe in a July press release.