At the 21st Annual Harvest Fest celebrations at Sunset Beach, the Eastern Shore of Virginia Broadband Authority (ESVBA) presented Accomack and Northampton Counties checks for the first installment to repay the funds which both counties contributed to create the ESVBA.
Senator Ralph Northam and Delegate Lynwood Lewis took time out from greeting constituents to participate in the ceremony. Senator Northam and Delegate Lewis, along with former US Senator Jim Webb, were instrumental in arranging over $11 million in state and federal funding to construct the ESVBA’s fiber optic network. Over 100 physical facilities have been connected to the ESVBA’s fiber optic infrastructure, including public safety E911, educational and health care facilities, the Community College, and the NASA/NAVY/NOAA complex at Wallops.
Senator Northam stated, “This is a great success story. Thanks to the ESVBA, the Shore has important new infrastructure and is now well-positioned for participating in the high-tech world of the 21st Century. Heath care in particular will be transformed in the years to come, and this fiber optic network will provide critically needed capabilities.” Delegate Lewis added, “Getting fast connectivity and effectively unlimited bandwidth to our schools and students was an important goal for Ralph and me, and it is gratifying to see the ESVBA’s progress.”
Nicholas Pascaretti, the ESVBA’s Executive Director, added, “The path to where we are today was not an easy one. There were many times when the sustainability of the ESVBA was doubtful, which is why I am very proud that the ESVBA is financially, in a position to begin repaying this money. All citizens of the Eastern Shore are now benefiting either directly, or indirectly through the schools, health care institutions, businesses and government facilities that utilize the ESVBA’s network. And it important to understand that the broadband project is by no means over. We are working actively to encourage private sector entrepreneurs to provide cost-effective broadband to small businesses and residences. Last year, we implemented the Broadband Initiative Program to help foster broadband service in the incorporated towns and we are continually looking at ways to expand these services further to as many communities on the Eastern Shore as possible.”