Last month in Norfolk,Va., the Virginia, Maryland and Delaware Association of Broadband Cooperatives brought together industry, community and government leaders to detail their progress in closing the digital divide and to chart the path forward in achieving total broadband connectivity across the commonwealth. Thanks to the leadership of VMDABC, Virginia is set to become one of the first large states in the country to deliver total broadband access statewide.
Simply put, access to the internet is “transformational,” as Gary Wood, CEO of Firefly Fiber Broadband, reiterated during a CEO panel discussion. Since 2017, Cooperatives have worked to connect more than 30,000 Virginians. In just the past year, they’ve also established plans for approximately 210,000 homes to receive broadband over the next three to five years.
Through this first-in-the-nation, cooperative-led initiative, VMDABC is leading the charge to not only deliver broadband, but to educate on all it enables — including EV charging, telemedicine, economic growth, remote learning and so much more. While VMDABC has achieved tremendous success in closing the digital divide, there is still work to be done to deliver broadband to all — a point that Bill Buchanan, CEO of BARC Electric Cooperative and broadband subsidiary BARC Connects, made crystal clear, “We’re problem solvers, we’ll fight to get it done.”
When asked about the message to those who don’t have access to broadband yet, CEO of Empower Broadband John C. Lee Jr. stressed, “We’re coming.”
–Report by Virginia, Maryland & Delaware Association of Broadband Cooperatives