Virginia is expanding broadband options for public agencies, with hopes of mending patchy Internet connections and better serving rural parts of the state.

The Virginia Information Technologies Agency (VITA) announced this week the addition of 14 broadband service providers, which will be offered at "competitively priced" rates to state, county, city, town, school, library and other public agencies. The new options will include wireless, satellite, cable-modem and fiber services, the Virginia Governor's Office said. The state's main provider currently is Verizon.

"There was a growing demand for additional broadband services to meet government Internet access needs in Virginia," VITA Supply Chain Management Outreach Manager Sonia Hicks wrote in an e-mail. "Those needs range from supporting small, remote office locations to redundancy for primary Internet connections for universities."

VITA has developed an online search tool for broadband services and pricing using ZIP codes, which returns a list of available service contracts in the specified ZIP code.

"VITA has already experienced significant interest and expects a high volume of these contracts," Hicks wrote.


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Karen Wilkinson  |  Staff Writer