NELSON COUNTY, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- Making high-speed fiber broadband more accessible is a focus of the Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission.

A new project, which is set to start later this month, will connect thousands of people with high-speed Internet in the area.

The technology uses a fiber-optic cable, which ensures lightning-fast download and upload speeds of up to a gigabyte per second. The local effort includes more than a dozen counties.

The company behind this project is Firefly Fiber Broadband.

"Well, the exciting part is it's about to kick off," said Virginia Telecommunications Initiative (VATI) Program Director Lori Allshouse.

The goal is to have 13 counties completely covered.

Allshouse says the private-public partnership, led by the Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission, will help connect more people.

"It's really bringing this high-speed Internet, really, the fiber Internet that really brings in high-level Internet services to the rural area of these 13 counties," she said.

More than 4,300 miles of fiber will bring internet to more than 42,000 locations.

In Nelson County, Melissa Gay with Central Virginia Electric Cooperative says the project is slated to be completed by 2023.

"We are working as quickly to the goal as we can,” she said. “If not every single household by the end of this year. We will look to have them in the first month of next year."

"What's really cool about it, though, is that is matching money," said Allshouse.

With the collaborative efforts of utility companies, and local, state, and federal funding, more than $280 million has been raised for the project.

"This project is funded by the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development and it’s a VATI program," said Allshouse.