Additional funding to improve broadband access in Virginia
The Center for Geospatial Information Technology (CGIT) at Virginia Tech was approached by the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development to compare the state's broadband coverage map against the national map used by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for distributing $42 billion in federal broadband improvement funds. After six months, CGIT's challenge resulted in an additional federal allocation of $1.4 billion for Virginia's broadband enhancement, with an estimated $250 million increase due to their efforts. The pandemic emphasized the significance of broadband for essential services, and while the U.S. Senate had committed funds to the Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) Program, CGIT's more detailed analysis revealed gaps in the FCC's nationwide map. The CGIT team continues to work on refining the accuracy of broadband maps to benefit areas still lacking proper broadband access.