The Prince Edward County Supervisory Board voted unanimously to use $ 2,153,500 of American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding in return for a grant from the Virginia Telecommunication Initiative (VATI) for the provision broadband service to Prince Edward County at the September 14 meeting. .
“If there has ever been a time to bridge the technology divide of our citizens and their inability to access the Internet, now is the time,” said County Administrator Doug Stanley. âAnd right now the only person who has worked with this is Jim Garrett from Kinex Telecom. “
The goal of the project is to have fiber optic in front of all homes in Prince Edward County, as well as those in Lunenburg and Cumberland that are part of the project area, within four years.
The minimum match requirement for the grant is 20%; at least 10% is required from a private source. The total project budget is $ 25,292,385, with $ 9,975,490 in FCC grants, which have already been awarded to Kinex; a $ 6 million Small Business Administration (SBA) loan over 15 years, which has already been approved; and $ 6,316,895 in project funding from Kinex.
âWe asked for $ 15 million today for a regional project that includes the Prince Edward section of Lunenberg to Cumberland,â Stanley said.
Jim Garrett of Kinex addressed the board by phone. He noted that Kinex had previously won a contract to provide rural broadband through a Rural Digital Opportunity Fund auction to provide broadband to rural areas without a download speed of at least 25 Mbps.
Stanley said the ARPA funding came at a happy time for the broadband project.
âWe didn’t know this opportunity was on our knees, so it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. “Stanley said.