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Initiative will map broadband access

Gov. Terry McAuliffe has announced a new statewide initiative to better understand where Virginia has the largest gaps in broadband coverage. 

“The governor announced the initiative at a ceremony to sign House Bill 912, which clarifies and improves the process for installing communications infrastructure, benefiting rural communities,” according to a press release.

The new initiative, RUOnlineVA, provides a platform for Virginia residents and businesses to notify the commonwealth whether or not they have access to broadband Internet connections.

“RUOnlineVA is a key component of the governor’s overall strategy to increase connectivity throughout the commonwealth. House Bill 912 makes it easier to put telecommunications infrastructure in the rights-of-way for state-maintained roads. In addition to these components, the governor’s budget includes $2.5 million for the Virginia Telecommunications Initiative, which provides funding for infrastructure expansion in unserved areas of the commonwealth.”

“Broadband has become as essential as any utility for maintaining a high quality of life in our communities and meeting our economic and workforce development goals,” McAuliffe said. “Yet too many Virginia communities lack access to reliable, fast and affordable Internet connections. RUOnlineVa is an important way for the commonwealth to engage citizens and the private sector in fully understanding the problem and working to find solutions.”

“This initiative gives citizens and businesses the opportunity to have a direct impact on the future of broadband in the commonwealth,” said Secretary of Technology Karen Jackson. “By identifying where the greatest demand is, RUOnlineVA will set a foundation for state-level broadband strategies and policies that will help get broadband to every part of Virginia.”

RUOnlineVA, which will run through early August, will leverage an online demand capture tool created by the Center for Innovative Technology (CIT) and Virginia Tech’s Center for Geospatial Information Technology (CGIT).

Virginia residents in need of Internet service are asked to log onto RUOnline.virginia.gov or call (877) 969-6685 and answer a few simple questions regarding where they live and what level of connectivity they have.