GLOUCESTER COUNTY, Va. (WVEC) -- More than 120 homes and businesses in rural Gloucester County now have access to high-speed internet.
Cox Communications officials welcomed Gov. Ralph Northam on Friday to celebrate the completion of a fiber network expansion that made it all possible. It was Northam's first official visit to our area as governor since his inauguration.
Last year, the state awarded Gloucester County $193,094 to extend internet service to the most rural areas of the county.
"It'll help move the rural end of Gloucester County into the 21st century," said Gloucester County Board of Supervisors Chairman Chris Hutson.
Cox Communications contributed more than $140,000 towards the expansion.
Northam said it was a step in the right direction for Gloucester County.
"We have to be connected to people in Virginia and other states, and, so, if we are going to help businesses grow and attract new businesses, we have to have universal access to broadband," Northam stated.
Wayne Van Houdt, owner of Olde Town Stove & Hearth, has been in business more than 30 years. He said it's difficult to do just about anything without high-speed internet.
"Right now, you have to wait for things to be downloaded, uploaded. It's terrible," said Van Houdt who signed up to get it in his business.
"It’ll help with running a web page, downloading content," Van Houdt told 13News Now. "You almost got to have it."
The governor and county leaders say the expansion not only will grow the county's economy, it also will benefit the children in Gloucester.
"Kids are working at school on the computer, and if they have homework and no internet at home their hands are tied, so we want to make sure all our children have internet," Northam said.
County leaders plan to apply for more grants to help expand high-speed internet further.