City of Suffolk Broadband Initiatives
In today's day and age, access to high-speed broadband internet is paramount for success across all stages of life. Suffolk City Council and City Staff are committed to obtaining the Governor of Virginia's goal of universal broadband coverage by 2024, focusing on the large portions of rural, out-lying areas that have little to no viable internet access.
The City has taken advantage of a variety of funding opportunities which have made closing the digital divide significantly easier. With the provision of CARES Act funding, the VATI Grant Award, and Federally administered FCC funding, the City of Suffolk finds itself in a position to capitalize on these various funding opportunities. These opportunities will result in City-wide universal broadband coverage in a relatively short time frame.
August 17, 2022 City Council Work Session:
Broadband Initiatives Update
Please refer to the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) and the City's Social Media presence for additional information.
The City of Suffolk, in conjunction with the Hampton Roads Planning District Commission (HRPDC), created an interactive map allowing citizens to enter an address and discern which of the broadband funding sources their residence or property will fall under and where construction has been completed. As the build-out of the infrastructure progresses, the City and HRPDC will include the completed areas on the map.
The interactive map includes the City of Suffolk, Isle of Wight County, and Southampton County.
The Charter/Spectrum teams have been tirelessly working to install the necessary infrastructure in our most rural areas. Construction has been on-going for several months and the teams are on schedule. The City is looking forward to the first phase of addresses being released in 3-5 weeks.
Following the initial construction phase, which is the build out of the infrastructure, construction crews will return a brief time later to begin "splicing" to homes. Once splicing is completed, residents will receive notifications from Spectrum regarding installation to their homes.
When any type of land disturbance happens, there will be oversights and issues that occur. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Randah Gaitan at 757-514-4013 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
AFFORDING BROADBAND INTERNET:
The Affordable Connectivity Program helps low-income households pay for internet connections and devices such as laptops or tablets. Eligible households could receive up to $30 a month for internet services and one-time discounts of up to $100 on device purchases, with a small co-payment. Visit www.FCC.GOV/ACP for more information.
Spectrum also offers programs to assist with the affordability of the monthly expense of broadband internet to qualifying households. More information on these programs can be found at the two links below:
PROJECT FUNDING SOURCES:
RDOF (Rural Digital Opportunity Fund)
The Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) is a program created by the federal government, administered by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), to aid in the provision of high-speed broadband access to the most rural of areas. RDOF is a program between the FCC and a registered provider, meaning that the City of Suffolk has no control over the selection, delivery, award process, etc.
The City of Suffolk is working closely with Charter/Spectrum to ensure an efficient permitting process with our various departments and other vendors that require permitting. The beginning phase of this project is completed. Crews are actively working to install the fiber, which will bring high-speed internet to our residents.
VATI (Virginia Telecommunication Initiative) Grant Application
The Virginia Telecommunication Initiative is a program administered by the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD), the program is a grant process by which local governments and internet and/or cable service providers complete an extensive application process. The DHCD then reviews and chooses the top applicants to receive program funding. On Monday, December 13, 2021, Governor Ralph S. Northam announced the 2022 Virginia Telecommunications Initiative Grant Awards. The regional grant application, submitted by the Hampton Roads Planning District Commission on behalf of the City of Suffolk and Counties of Isle of Wight and Southampton, was awarded $21 Million to go alongside the nearly $14 Million provided by the localities and Charter Communications/Spectrum, of which the City of Suffolk invested $3 Million Dollars.
CARES Act (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act)
Following the City's disbursements of CARES Act funds, a surplus remained. The City Manager resolved that these funds should be utilized to aid our citizens in rural areas. Charter Communications/Spectrum and the City created a plan and have worked collectively to provide these services in a timely fashion, as there is an expiration date on the CARES Act Funds. The areas that were chosen to provide services were selected based upon a number of factors; two specific factors are Charter Communications/Spectrum's assessment of serviceability and locations not within the RDOF award areas. Citizens in these areas should expect services by the end of 2021. This project is complete January 1, 2022.
Please follow this link to see the mapped address points: