RICHMOND, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- Orange County is among several localities getting grant funding to support broadband access.

On Thursday, Governor Glenn Youngkin announced more than $59.5 million in grants from the Virginia Telecommunications Initiative, or VATI.

According to a release, these funds are going to 14 projects in 20 localities across the Commonwealth in order to extend broadband service to areas that are currently underserved by a broadband Internet provider.

“In today’s increasingly digital world, having access to high-speed broadband is no longer a luxury, it is necessary in order to fully participate in daily life,” said Youngkin. “These investments will allow us to reach underserved communities, grow Virginia’s economy and close the digital divide across the Commonwealth.”   

VATI aims to create competitive communities by preparing them to build, use and capitalize on telecommunications infrastructure.

The release says this year’s grant funding will leverage more than $118.6 million in local and private sector matching funds.

“Closing the digital divide is paramount to growing Virginia’s economy, supporting businesses and ensuring that all Virginians have the resources they need to thrive,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Caren Merrick. “These investments will connect over 29,400 homes, businesses and community anchors, making critical strides toward achieving universal broadband in Virginia.” 

Funding for projects that are selected is based on the infrastructure needs in the project’s area.

For this round of funding, there were 35 total applications asking for more than $300 million.

Orange County is getting $2.18 million for a FiberLync project.

Other localities getting funding include the counties of Essex, Caroline, Shenandoah, Bedford, Floyd, Chesterfield and Henrico as well as the West Piedmont and Southside planning district commissions.

Since 2017, Virginia has invested more than $798.7 million in these kinds of projects, connecting more than 358,000 homes and businesses in 84 localities. 

For more information on this program, click here.