CLINTWOOD, Va. (WJHL) — High-speed internet access will soon be expanded in Dickenson County, as the locality’s Industrial Development Authority received an up to $169,152 grant from the Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority (VCEDA).

A release from VECDA states the funding will be used to “finance the provision of low earth orbit space-based broadband to unserved and/or underserved children in Dickenson County.”

The expanded access to broadband internet will serve an additional 48 households that include 74 school-aged children, according to the release.

“The grant will be used to take care of the expenses of hardware, wiring and two-year subscriptions for each household served according to the Dickenson County Industrial Development Authority application,” said VCEDA Executive Director/General Counsel Jonathan Belcher.

“In the end, the grant serves to enhance educational opportunities for students, expand health treatment options and to enhance workforce education and remote worker opportunities,” he said.

The release states that Dickenson County’s Industrial Development Authority reported to VECDA that there were a total of 290 households with 97 school-aged children that either did not have internet access, or that did not have internet access capable of supporting streaming for online learning.

“Over the course of the past several months, Dickenson County has been able to provide a total of 156 households access to high-speed Internet through the partnership with VCEDA and the Space-Based Broadband Grant program,” said Dana Cronkhite, Dickenson County economic development director.

“We are thankful for this continued collaboration and commitment to our community, as access to high-speed Internet is one of the components for our future success and economic development.”