We know how important broadband access is to the daily life of everyone. From school and business needs, to health-care and simple entertainment, it is vital that everyone have access. Franklin Southampton Economic Development, Inc. (FSEDI) on behalf of Southampton County is working to position Southampton County to reach universal coverage by 2026 in line with the Governor of Virginia's goal.
FSEDI has worked with existing providers and surrounding communities to take advantage of opportunities provided through state and federal funding for broadband access. The goal is for the funds received to potentially result in Southampton County reaching universal coverage.
Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF)
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 Southampton County has no control over the selection, delivery, award process, etc. Program specifications state that the provider must have 30% of the project area completely built within three (3) years of notification of the award, and the entire project area must be completed after six (6) years of notification. There are several incentives to providers to build their awarded areas quicker than the timeline set forth.
Southampton County is working closely with Charter/Spectrum to ensure the permitting process goes smoothly with our various departments. The beginning phases of this project are underway, some citizens have likely seen Charter/Spectrum employees walking and mapping out your areas. Charter Communications/Spectrum plans to begin construction of these projects in the first half of 2023.
Please follow this link to verify if you are within an RDOF awarded area:
Virginia Telecommunication Initiative (VATI) Grant
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.
Southampton County, the City of Suffolk, and Isle of Wight County, in conjunction with Charter/Spectrum and the Hampton Roads Planning District Commission, submitted a regional grant application for DHCD's 2022 VATI cycle, which totals around $21 Million. Southampton County stands to service 4,962 previously unserved residences and businesses in the most rural areas.
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 $21.1 Million to go alongside the $13.8 Million provided by the localities and Charter Communications/Spectrum. More information will be forthcoming.
*FSEDI will update information as it receives updates but if you have questions that are not answered below, please contact Karl Heck at 757-562-1958 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Please also follow up on Facebook to receive updates.
- Is your address included in the buildout?
- Please use the following link to access an interactive map that you are able to enter your address and see if and which funding project will provide broadband to your address point: click here
- When will construction begin on these Broadband Projects?
- RDOF Project – Construction is projected to begin in the first half of 2022. There is currently no project conclusion date, but as information is provided to us, it will be updated.
- VATI Project – Southampton County, the City of Suffolk, and Isle of Wight County, were awarded the VATI Grant on Monday, December 13, 2021. FSEDI on behalf of Southampton County and partners will begin communications with entities to determine a projected date for construction to begin. We will update this page with more information as it is made available.
- 'Walk-outs' which is the act of driving down every road and noting every address point and existing pole, has been completed for these projects. If you have seen a Charter/Spectrum vehicle, this is why. You do NOT have to be signed up for any service for the company to account for your address.
- During the buildout process, the construction team has to do several processes so seeing them once does mean you will have service right away. They will come to your area to lay conduit then they will come back to run fiber. After both are complete, the process of powering on sections has to occur as well. Charter/Spectrum will let you know once you can sign up for service.
- Do I have to subscribe to Charter Communications/Spectrum services once my residence/business is connected?
- No, you do not have to subscribe to Charter/Spectrum’s services. It is recommended that you allow your residence/business to be connected, as there may be future issues associated with obtaining service at a later date should you change your mind, sell your home, etc.
- Am I eligible for connection if my residence is far from the roadway?
- FSEDI is working closely with Charter/Spectrum to make accommodations for residences that are a distance from the paved roadway. The VATI grant and RDOF fund allot for a certain number of feet from the roadway, which will be disclosed upon determination.
- Is there financial assistance available if I can’t afford Broadband services?
- Yes, Spectrum/Charter has a program offered called “Spectrum Assist” and the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program is available through the Federal Communications Commission. Follow the links below to verify if your household is qualified.