Halifax gets grant as Charlotte waits

Published 6:00 am Thursday, March 25, 2021

Neighboring Halifax County was recently awarded $65,000 in grant funding to construct broadband in its county.

Halifax County and EMPOWER Broadband will connect 25 serviceable units to a regional fiber network using portions of $20.1 million in Virginia Telecommunication Initiative (VATI) grants to improve broadband infrastructure in 17 localities.

The VATI extends broadband service to currently unserved areas.

EMPOWER Broadband, Mecklenburg Electric and Charlotte were recently part of a joint effort to bring fiber and a hotspot to the Bacon District Volunteer Fire Station using a $72,000 grant.

County Administrator Dan Witt said some citizens who are close to the fire department had been offered EMPOWER Broadband, and others whose homes in which the fiber line may pass by can ask to be connected.

“Empower has also installed and offered connectivity to citizens along their route south of Wylliesburg,” Witt said.

Charlotte County officials are currently working with RiverStreet Network on a county-wide broadband engineering plan, that is expected to be presented at the April Board of Supervisors meeting.

The broadband fiber to the home network engineering plan comes with a $40,000 price tag to the county.

Administered by the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD), VATI provides targeted financial assistance to extend broadband service to unserved areas.

This is the second round of funding for the VATI 2021 program year, and in total, more than $49.8 million has been awarded for 28 localities, connecting more than 25,000 households and businesses.