RUOnlineVA.com will engage citizens and businesses in identifying areas with no broadband connectivity
Gov. Terry McAuliffe announced today a new statewide initiative to better understand where Virginia has the largest gaps in broadband coverage. The governor announced the initiative at a ceremony to sign House Bill 912, which clarifies and improves the process for installing communications infrastructure, benefiting rural communities.
The new initiative, RUOnlineVA, provides a platform for Virginia residents and businesses to notify the state government whether or not they have access to broadband internet connections.
RUOnlineVA is a key component of the governor’s overall strategy to increase connectivity throughout Virginia. House Bill 912 makes it easier to put telecommunications infrastructure in the rights-of-way for state-maintained roads. In addition to these components, the governor’s budget includes $2.5 million for the Virginia Telecommunications Initiative, which provides funding for infrastructure expansion in unserved areas.
“Broadband has become as essential as any utility for maintaining a high quality of life in our communities and meeting our economic and workforce development goals,” McAuliffe said, speaking at the event. “Yet too many Virginia communities lack access to reliable, fast and affordable internet connections. RUOnlineVA is an important way for the commonwealth to engage citizens and the private sector in fully understanding the problem and working to find solutions.”
RUOnlineVA, which launches today and will run through early August, will leverage an online demand capture tool created by the Center for Innovative Technology (CIT) and Virginia Tech’s Center for Geospatial Information Technology (CGIT). Virginia residents in need of Internet service are asked to log onto RUOnline.virginia.gov or call 877-969-6685 and answer a few simple questions regarding where they live and what level of connectivity they have. Responses will be aggregated, mapped, and shared with policy makers and the public to stimulate broadband policy and funding discussions throughout the remainder of the administration.
Beginning June 1, if you are in need of internet service and would like to log your demand, visit RUOnline.virginia.gov. If you are unable to access the website at home, you can visit your local library or call toll free at 877-969-6685.