August 4, 2021
Interview Published by Virginia Business – Beth Jojack

1901 Group Virginia Business Interview:

Northam pushes broadband expansion to drive rural tech workforce

Era of Rapid Change GloballyAbout 11% of rural Virginians have no access to any internet service, Governor Ralph Northam proposed an ambitious goal: achieving universal broadband connectivity statewide by 2028.

In May and July, Northam and General Assembly leaders announced plans to speed up that timeline; instead, they aim to deliver broadband to most of Virginia in 18 months using $700 million from the $4.3 billion the state expects to receive through the federal American Rescue Plan, relief funds approved by Congress in March geared to help localities recover from the pandemic.

Expanding the availability of broadband is obviously a very important issue and critical to the economic development in Southwest Virginia. It not only will make it easier to recruit talent but will also expand industries that rely heavily on broadband.

When employees at the Blacksburg and Abingdon offices of the 1901 Group began working from home in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 crisis, some didn’t have access to broadband connections or had inadequate or intermittent bandwidth. 1901 Group’s IT department set those employees up with mobile hot spots, which use a cellular network to connect to the internet.

“We support federal clients in a variety of mission critical agencies so there was no option to simply not work. The reality is that if you don’t have broadband, it’s going to be hard to drive technology jobs.” – Sonu Singh, Founder and CEO of 1901 Group, a Leidos company.

1901 Group continues to be committed to investing in growing talent to address the deficit of cloud engineering and cyber talent in the public sector to create the next wave of IT talent focused on automation, streamlining, and continual improvement in large scale IT environments.

Read the full interview here


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