The SOVA Innovation Center recently signed on as a supporter of the Commonwealth Connect coalition This coalition believes that every Virginian deserves access to quality broadband and the opportunity to fully participate in American life. From economic development to telemedicine to education, the internet touches nearly every aspect of modern life and every corner of Virginia needs to have access to a reliable, high speed connection. Now is the time to bridge this digital divide; failing to invest in broadband would leave hundreds of thousands of Virginians disconnected from the modern economy.
The Commonwealth Connect coalition members all subscribe to a common set of fundamental claims regarding broadband, regardless of industry:
- 660,000 Virginians currently don’t have access to broadband services.
- In 2019, internet is as necessary as electricity.
- Rural Virginia communities have lost 20th century industries and need to attract new business. Broadband is a requirement for doing business in today’s society, whether it’s a major corporation or a small business, and areas without it are losing time.
- The absence of broadband in a community means the absence of jobs.
- With access to broadband – communities can create jobs, students have better education outcomes, home prices rise, first responders have faster response times, thousands could have better access to healthcare with telemedicine, and opportunity can be equally distributed regardless of where someone lives.
- This fundamentally comes down to fairness – Virginians without access to broadband are at a disadvantage.
Recognizing the importance of broadband access for all Virginians, the Commonwealth Connect coalition wholeheartedly supports Governor Northam’s $46 million increase to VATI’s annual budget, and the goal of universal broadband coverage across Virginia. For a list of organizations in the Commonwealth Connect coalition click here.