To: Andrea Miller
The Internet is NOT a Luxury
Tell the Rappahanock Electric Cooperative Board of Directors to offer rural broadband services to their member-owners. They can begin with a survey suggesting potential pricing for this critical new service.
The UDA has invested $48 million in Virginia for rural broadband so far; Rappahanock has not applied for any loans or grants.
Rural electric cooperatives were created in the 1930s to provide electricity to rural communities. Today the need is for broadband Internet connecting communities to education and health care through telemedicine.
Rappahanock Electric Cooperative has 169,000 members in 21 cities and counties in Virginia. Both the Federal government and Virginia are providing millions of dollars to bring this critical infrastructure to rural communities. Central Virginia Electric Cooperative (CVEC) and BARC are now providing rural broadband to its customers.
Why is this important?
If there is one thing that the coronavirus pandemic has made abundantly clear is that the internet is not a luxury.
Millions of Americans who live in rural and underserved areas are cut off from their employers and their schools as everyday life has been transferred online. Internet is just as critical as water or electricity,
USDA will make available up to $200 million for grants, up to $200 million for 50/50 grant/loan combinations, and up to $200 million for low-interest loans. The application window for this round of funding opened Jan. 31, 2020. Rappahanock Electric Cooperative currently has not applied for any of the grants or loan programs offered by the FDA.