Partnering for Broadband Expansion: Closing the Rural Digital Divide

High-speed broadband is rapidly expanding in America, and Comcast is proud to lead this significant infrastructure growth, which is fostering digital and economic opportunities.

Communities nationwide are eagerly awaiting the first allocations from the Broadband Equity Access and Deployment (BEAD) program, expected later this year. However, the benefits of previous public-private investments, such as those from the American Rescue Plan, are already evident.

One notable success is a rural broadband expansion recently completed in Stafford County, Virginia, highlighted this week.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, along with state and local officials, joined us to tour the new project in Stafford County. The expansion extends our ultrafast Xfinity network to nearly 700 additional homes, exceeding initial expectations.

During her visit, Secretary Yellen watched Comcast’s skilled technicians at work, observing the installation, management, and repair of fiber connections. She even participated in a live demonstration of a fiber splicer, a critical tool for maintaining our high-quality, fiber-rich network. Fiber splicing is essential for connecting strands of fiber optic cable, ensuring the reliable, high-speed service we offer nationwide.

The Stafford County project, announced in early 2022, is a collaboration between Comcast and Stafford County, supported by the Commonwealth of Virginia’s Telecommunications Initiative (VATI) and managed by its Office of Broadband.

Thanks to the strong partnership with Stafford County, construction stayed on schedule and within budget. County leaders facilitated public meetings to address residents’ questions and collaboratively solve challenges such as access to private easements and pole attachments.

These partnerships are the result of years of collaboration. Comcast has built strong relationships with state, regional, and local partners, benefiting communities not just in Virginia, but also in Oregon, Texas, and beyond.

Comcast has numerous projects underway nationwide, each with unique considerations. The most impactful moments during Secretary Yellen’s visit were meeting Stafford County residents who now have high-speed broadband for the first time.

“My wife is a high school teacher of 42 years. During the COVID pandemic, because we didn’t have high-speed Internet, she had to go to the school to remotely teach her students,” said Richard, a Navy veteran and Stafford County resident. “The Comcast service we now have is very fast and extremely reliable.”

Stories like Richard’s are why Comcast is committed to going “Beyond the Build.” As my colleague David Don noted, “Comcast brings to local communities its deep-rooted commitment to high-quality technology, widespread adoption, and services that are stable, secure, and innovative.”

Nationally, Comcast has pledged $1 billion through Project UP to provide connectivity, tools, and digital skills necessary for success. This includes $39 million invested in over 127 nonprofits across Virginia, helping communities fully leverage the Internet.

Our mission, dedicated team, and history of innovation drive Comcast’s broadband expansion strategy. We are on track to connect over one million additional homes and businesses this year – and this is just the beginning.

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