HAYSI, VA – OCTOBER 22, 2020An up to a $750,916.88 grant to the Dickenson County Industrial Development Authority to help finance the installation and extension of high-speed broadband was approved recently by the Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority (VCEDA).

The funding will be used toward the purchase and installation of fiber optic cable, fiber drops, electronics and wireless microwave backhaul, engineering, permitting and other fees and costs associated with the projects.

“Broadband connectivity is increasingly important in all aspects of life — from education to economic development,” said VCEDA Executive Director/General Counsel Jonathan Belcher. “The VCEDA board was pleased to assist the Dickenson County IDA with this funding to help the county expand its infrastructure which ultimately benefits not only the residents of Dickenson County who have not previously had broadband service, but it also sets up for success future economic development in the county as broadband is one of the key infrastructure needs of today’s businesses.”

The Dickenson County Industrial Development Authority and the Dickenson County Board of Supervisors hired Thompson and Litton Engineering to conduct a study to identify underserved areas of broadband in the county, according to Dickenson County IDA Chairman Larry Yates. Those study results are being used to prioritize where funding can best be utilized to reach the greatest number of people and businesses in need of service.

“Dickenson County, like most coalfield counties, suffers from a lack of broadband infrastructure,” Yates said in noting the importance of the VCEDA funding in helping to expand connectivity in the county.

The study conducted by the IDA and the board of supervisors, Yates said, showed one of the most neglected areas when it came to broadband was in the Pound River community.

“This community has many school-aged children and has plenty of opportunities for the growth of tourism businesses and entrepreneurship,” Yates said. “The area was also identified as an area project that could be done with available funding coupled with existing infrastructure.

“In the future,” Yates continued, “as additional funding becomes available, both the county and the Industrial Development Authority will continue efforts to reach other underserved areas of the county.”

About Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority and Southwest Virginia’s e-Region: The Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority, created by the Virginia General Assembly in 1988 to enhance and diversify the region’s economy and help create jobs, markets Southwest Virginia’s e-Region and its focus on electronic information technology, energy, education, emerging technologies, and entrepreneurship. VCEDA is a unique economic development organization that manages funds for economic development projects from a percentage of the coal and natural gas severance taxes paid by coal and natural gas companies that operate in the region. Located in southwestern Virginia, the region includes Buchanan, Dickenson, Lee, Russell, Scott, Tazewell, and Wise counties and the City of Norton. www.vceda.us  or www.e-Region.org.