RD723 - Department of Health Facilities Broadband American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) State Fiscal Fund (SFF) Workplan – September 30, 2021

Executive Summary:

The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) seeks to upgrade the internet infrastructure of its Local Health District offices and client service areas within health department facilities throughout the Commonwealth to enable delivery of broadband service at speeds of at least 100 Megabit per second (Mbps) download and 20 Mbps upload. The COVID-19 public health emergency has underscored the importance of universally available, high-speed, reliable, and affordable broadband coverage as millions of Virginians rely on the internet to participate in critical activities, remote school, healthcare, and work. The workplace environment has shifted considerably since the onslaught of the COVID-19 pandemic, making the reliance on a stable broadband connection necessary to work remotely during instances when it may be dangerous to congregate indoors, and to remotely serve clients through video conferencing to protect the safety of both customer and employee. As a result, $8 Million of ARPA State Fiscal Fund dollars have been allocated to the development and improvement of technology improvements, for which each office needs reliable broadband internet.

With nearly 96% of assessed VDH buildings currently unserved or underserved by broadband (speeds less than 25 Mbps download and 3 Mbps upload), significant internet infrastructure upgrades are imperative for VDH to adequately serve Virginians in the aftermath of COVID-19. Through fiber optic broadband connection, wireless 5G broadband connection, or reliable wireline connection, the ARPA SFF funding will be used to upgrade unserved and underserved VDH facilities.