From the Jennifer Carroll Foy for Governor campaign:
Jennifer Carroll Foy Releases Plan to Expand Broadband Access Across the Commonwealth, Leave No Part of Virginia Behind
Carroll Foy pledges to ensure 97 percent of Virginians will have access to high speed internet by end of her administration
Carroll Foy: “A lack of access to the internet is a lack of access to opportunity. It’s being held back by no fault of your own.”
(Woodbridge, VA) – Today, Del. Jennifer Carroll Foy introduced a comprehensive plan to expand broadband access to every corner of Virginia. Her plan aims to ensure 97 percent of Virginians have access to high speed internet by the end of her administration so that every Virginian has access to opportunity, no matter where they live in the Commonwealth.
“I remember as a girl growing up in Petersburg, we couldn’t bring home books and materials for our school work, and this simply cut us off from opportunity,” said Del. Carroll Foy. “That’s exactly what this boils down to — a lack of access to the internet is a lack of access to opportunity. It’s being held back by no fault of your own. Access to the internet today means access to healthcare, better jobs, education, and so much more. As Governor, I pledge to expand rural broadband so no family is held back.”
Currently, more than 350,000 Virginia homes and businesses and 600,000 Virginians – mostly in Southwest, Southside, and Tidewater regions – still don’t have broadband access, while many Virginians who do have access struggle to afford it. At the same time, the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed even more Virginians to the realities of living without dependable access to the internet.
As a Delegate, Carroll Foy fought hard to pass legislation to strengthen public-private partnerships to provide broadband to underserved communities and to make it easier for companies deploying broadband to have access to needed infrastructure. Now, her plan aims to expand broadband so that Virginians can work from home, students can participate in virtual learning, patients can access telehealth, and small businesses can survive, grow, and thrive.
In particular, Carroll Foy’s plan would:
- Target and streamline funding for broadband deployment in underserved communities though the Virginia Telecommunications Initiative
- Repeal roadblocks preventing municipal broadband authorities from reaching new regions
- Prioritize and recruit local broadband providers and ensure large cable corporations don’t have an unfair leg up
- Launch a pilot program to subsidize high speed internet access for Virginians eligible for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits
- Improve broadband data maps which help the Commonwealth better target investments to communities and areas that need it
- Expand and fast track the completion of broadband infrastructure projects
- Partner with school districts to tackle the homework gap to make sure children can access their education — at home and at school
- Cover remote medical services for rural and underserved Virginians, expanding telehealth as outlined in her healthcare policy plan