5/23/17 The Mid-Atlantic Broadband Communities Corp. With Microsoft Set To Expand Internet Access To Thousands Of Students In Rural Virginia

Virginia Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission


‘Homework Network’ Will Bring Wi-Fi Access to Students in Charlotte and Halifax Counties

Richmond, VA – The Mid-Atlantic Broadband Communities Corp. on Tuesday announced with Microsoft Corp. the largest ‘TV White Space’ project in North America. This ‘Homework Network’ will allow thousands of students in Charlotte and Halifax to access high speed Wi-Fi at no cost. Internet access is crucial to student development and this project aims to close the gap between students with high speed access and those in rural areas where access may not be available. With this technology, and the access it provides, students in rural Virginia will be prepared to enter an increasingly connected world.

The network, which has already been successfully piloted in Charlotte and Halifax counties, is being launched with the help of $500,000 in grant funds from the Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission. By the end of 2017 3,000 students in 1,000 homes will have access to their schools’ online networks as a result of the project.

Tobacco Commission Vice-Chair, Senator Frank Ruff said, “Rural Southern Virginia is now home to a highly innovative solution to help young people succeed in school, which can serve as a model for other parts of the state, the U.S. and even around the world. We are proud to help support and fund such an important project starting here in Charlotte and Halifax counties.”

Paul Garnett, Microsoft’s Senior Director of Affordable Access Initiatives added, “Too many students in the U.S. are falling behind their peers because they lack reliable high-speed internet access at home. Falling behind today means entering the job market at a serious disadvantage tomorrow. This innovative public-private partnership can help close that gap. Our partnership with MBC and others is one step in what we hope is replicated in other parts of the country and around the world.”

The technology behind the network utilizes ‘TV white space’, which is the unused spectrum between TV channels, by redirecting broadband from schools to receivers located at each home. The network utilizes hardware manufactured by Adaptrum and installed by B2X Online.

Tad Deriso, MBC President and CEO said, “Closing the homework gap is critical for improving the odds of student success. We are delighted to partner with Microsoft and others on such a groundbreaking initiative that, at the end of the day, connects young people to required educational resources and strengthens our local communities. Ultimately we believe such initiatives enhance competitiveness for economic development in Southern Virginia.”

The Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission is committed to developing a diverse economy in Southern and Southwest Virginia. Access to fast, reliable internet for rural communities has been a long term focus of the commission and this project continues our effort to make our region a great place to live and do business.


Contact: Jordan Butler
Telephone: 804-786-7692
Cell: 757-692-0878
Email: jordan.butler@tic.virginia.gov
Website: www.tic.virginia.gov