The Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission (TJPDC) has officially signed a contract with the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD), launching a $288 million fiber internet construction project that will provide access to affordable, reliable high speed fiber internet to more than 36,000 businesses and residences. In December 2021, Governor Ralph Northam announced the award of a $79 million grant to TJPDC and Firefly Fiber Broadband (Firefly) to support rural broadband expansion across a 13-county area, including the five counties that are part of the TJPDC region. The TJPDC is the administrator for this 2022 VATI grant that is funded and supported in collaboration with the Virginia Telecommunication Initiative (VATI); the project also includes $209 million in local and private sector matching funds. “We are thankful for our partnership with Firefly and DHCD to get this project up and running,” said TJPDC Executive Director Christine Jacobs. “We are especially excited to see expansion of high-speed fiber internet become a reality across our greater region.”
The TJPDC also has submitted an application, along with co-applicant Firefly, for nearly $13 million in 2023 VATI grant funding for work to be completed on behalf of Albemarle, Greene, Cumberland and Madison counties. This additional work, with a total price tag of just over $23 million, would provide access to service for an additional 3,600 customers across the four counties.